CCA/CTA play crucial role in campaign
It took an all-out campaign that began in the summer, but CCA/CTA and its allies won two clear victories on Election Day by convincing Californians to invest in public schools and colleges and to reject a deceptive ballot measure aimed at silencing educators, other workers and their unions.
The vote also delivered a strong message that Californians are not going to let out-of-state corporate interests dominate their election and have sway over the voices of the middle class.
Were it not for the Herculean effort by CCA/CTA members, the vote might have gone the other way. Instead, a massive grassroots campaign got the message to the voters and the voters to the polling places.
As a result, Californians approved a tax increase that will prevent drastic midyear cuts to schools and colleges, and decisively voted against Prop. 32, an initiative that would have diminished the ability of educators to advocate for their profession and their students.
“Californians believe in the value of public education and investing in our students and schools,” said Dean E. Vogel, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “They want to see funding restored to our schools and colleges. They want to stop the tuition hikes and class size increases. They want to see students have music, art, and libraries and access to counselors and nurses. They want to see our schools and colleges flourish and our students succeed.”
Mid-year cuts stopped
Passage of Proposition 30 stopped $6 billion in midyear cuts to our schools and colleges. In addition, local communities will receive funding to keep police on the street, and our state can begin to pay down the wall of debt it’s amassed over recent years.
“This was the first time in 20 years that a general tax measure was approved by California voters,” said CCA President Ron Norton Reel. “The passage of Proposition 30 will allow approximately 180,000 more Californians to attend community college. The fiscal implications for this year are staggering. Proposition 30 will prevent $545 million in budget cuts this year to community colleges, and it is estimated it will help us avoid more than $3 billion cuts over the next seven years.”
The relief that Prop. 30 will bring comes just in time. Since 2008, funding for community colleges has been cut by 12 percent, or $809 million; course sections have declined by 24 percent; class sizes have increased; enrollment has decreased by nearly 500,000; and thousands of adjunct faculty have been given “invisible” pink slips.
Prop. 30 implements a temporary tax increase for families making $500,000 and above. A temporary quarter-cent sales tax will also go into effect for four years.
The defeat of Prop. 32 was also a major victory for CTA and a vote for political fairness. For the third time in less than 15 years, California’s voters rejected a ballot measure intentionally written to silence the voices of working men and women and their unions.
“Proposition 32 was a deceptive proposal that would have made it even easier for super PACs to buy our elections while rendering us virtually powerless to do anything about it,” Reel said. “Its real agenda was to weaken unions and the voice of the middle class. Thankfully, voters saw right through it.”