Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324 or Sandra Jackson at 916-801-4776
In scores of California cities on Election Day, voters cast a strong vote for public schools and students in addition to their election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. His support for education will be strengthened by new local school board candidates, parcel taxes and bonds.
“This historic election of Barack Obama as president is a victory for all of us who care about public education,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 340,000-member California Teachers Association. “Obama believes, as educators do, that real change only comes with real commitment and resources for public schools.”
Voters across California echoed that same belief. “Up and down the state, voters approved local bonds, showing that they are willing to invest in music and arts programs, libraries, athletics, smaller class sizes and modernized classrooms,” Sanchez said. “In addition, many school board members who support teachers and students were elected.
“It is evident that voters are willing to support additional resources for public schools. Our state legislators should follow the voters’ lead and provide the resources our students deserve and the long-term funding solutions our schools need. California public schools and colleges suffered a $3 billion cut less than two months ago and now legislators are looking to cut deeper in order to balance the current $11 billion deficit.”
California voters also showed their support for protecting our public school funding by defeating Proposition 6, an unwise initiative that would have wasted millions of dollars in the midst of our staggering budget crisis, and by electing pro-education candidates to the state Assembly, Senate, and Congress.
CTA President Sanchez noted the many statewide races and propositions where voters supported teachers’ concerns or endorsements. Teachers’ support made a clear difference. In fact, in the 42 local school bond and parcel tax contests where CTA provided some campaign funding at the request of local educators, 39 were passed by voters, a success rate of 93 percent.
Here is a sampling of the election victories for California’s public schools:
LOCAL BOND SUCCESSES: In the San Francisco Bay Area, 20 of 22 local tax and bond measures passed, despite parcel taxes needing 66.7 percent of votes to pass, versus 55 percent for school bonds. Renewal of one parcel tax generating $10 million annually will prevent 140 teacher layoffs and pay for counselors, librarians and athletics in the 31,000-student West Contra Costa Unified School District. Los Angeles Unified School District voters approved a $7 billion bond measure – touted as the largest school bond ever – to repair and modernize schools. Orange County voters in five districts approved more than $430 million in K-12 school bonds. Torrance Unified voters passed two bond measures after officials warned that if voters rejected both, one or more elementary schools would have to be sold to fund vital projects. In Yuba County, the $47 million bond in Marysville will fund many school improvements.
SCHOOL BOARD WINS: Voters ousted one San Diego Unified School District school board member who was opposed by the San Diego Education Association, which now has a classroom-friendly majority on the board. In Sacramento City Unified, all seven school board members are now supported by the Sacramento City Teachers Association, which helped elect four board members on Tuesday. In the Bay Area, teachers in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District now have a teacher-focused majority to count on after they reelected a dedicated incumbent and replaced another incumbent.