Proposition 55 Passes! We win funding for our schools and community colleges!

Proposition 55 Passes! We win funding for our schools and community colleges!

On Tuesday, November 8th, California voters approved Proposition 55.

California voters understood that providing a quality education is vital to our future. They voted YES! on Prop. 55, protecting critical funding for education and keeping vital services intact.

Californians made it clear that they don’t want our public K-12 schools and community colleges to return to the days of layoffs, cuts to student services and skyrocketing tuition.

This is some truly great news for our children, our schools, and our state.

“This election demonstrates a new consensus has emerged in California: every child matters and investing in their future benefits us all. The passage of Prop 55 is a green light for progress in rebuilding our schools and opening doors for California’s kids,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias.

And SEIU Local 99 members worked hard to make sure Proposition 55—the Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act—passed. We called hundreds of voters and knocked on hundreds of doors.

Mario-and-Amelia-walk-precincts Mario Martinez, an LAUSD Campus Aide, and Amelia Soto, a Head start Teacher with MAOF, walk precincts.
Toi-Jackson Special Ed Assistant Toi Jackson calls voters from our Union Hall.
Amalia Flores and Mercedes Santiago Early Education Center Aide Amalia Flores and Sr. Cafeteria Worker Mercedes Santiago explain the importance of Prop. 55 to a voter.

Group-pic-prop-55-oct-12Members and staff take a break from calling voters
on LAUSD’s “Unassigned Day” in October.

Lilia and sons - 2009These past few years it seems like things have gotten a little better at our schools. Student programs and services are starting to be restored. Graduation rates are increasing, summer school is expanding and classroom sizes are down. We’re starting to make some progress.

Think back to 2012 during the recession. California schools and community colleges suffered $50 billion in funding cuts. That’s when a broad coalition—including Governor Brown, school employees like us, teachers, the Democratic Party and dozens of parent and community organizations—decided something had to be done. We put Prop. 30 on the ballot and mobilized thousands of voters across Los Angeles. Proposition 30 “stopped the bleeding” and ended cuts to student services and the mass layoffs of teachers and other vital school support staff.

But those resources were about to dry up. Just as we are beginning to make a little progress, Prop. 30’s temporary income tax rate on the rich is due to expire in 2018.

That’s where Proposition 55 comes in. Now that Proposition 55 has passed, our schools and community colleges won’t have to go back to the days of devastating cuts that hurt students, our families and our communities.

Prop. 55 will temporarily extend the current income tax rates for the wealthiest Californians to help keep us moving in the right direction and prevent nearly $4 billion in cuts to education every year. It’s important to remember that Prop. 55 is not a tax increase. It just keeps the current income tax rates on the very richest top 2% of Californians. Revenue generated from this tax will help continue to rebuild our schools and keep us from returning to the cuts.

California-Budget-&-Policy-Center-on-Prop-55Our schools need this. If Prop. 55 hadn’t passed, we’d be facing nearly $4 billion in cuts to education every year. That would have meant the return of lunch lines so long that kids don’t have time to eat, overcrowded classrooms, disappearing arts and music programs and other cuts that hurt our kids. We still have a long way to go until school custodial staff is even close to what it was before the recession—so that every classroom can be properly cleaned every day. We have a long way to go to ensure that all children who need it can catch a safe school bus ride to their campus. We have a long way to go to make sure there are enough caring adults in every classroom for our children with special needs. We will push to ensure that the funds brought by Prop. 55 will bring real investment to our schools and community colleges.

For more information, check out our Prop. 55 infographics. Press or click the thumbnails below to get the image file.

  1. Yes on Prop 55 - Helping Schools Yes on Prop 55 - Simple Choice