Contact: Theresa Wheeler - 916-677-5591
Sacramento – A growing coalition of education, business, community and taxpayer groups today announced they have joined forces to oppose Proposition 92 on the February 5, 2008 California primary election ballot.
Uniting under “Californians for Fair Education Funding,” the organizations are working to inform voters that the community college initiative is not what it seems. The campaign coalition includes the California Teachers Association, California Faculty Association, California Chamber of Commerce, California Taxpayers’ Association and California Business Roundtable.
“We strongly support community colleges and the very important role they play in educating California students, but Proposition 92 is a flawed initiative that will cause more problems than it claims it would solve,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association. “Proposition 92 drains $70 million a year from our public education system with no way to repay those resources and no guarantees that any additional funding will end up helping students.”
Proposition 92 seeks to lock into California’s constitution a huge new spending mandate for community colleges, but includes no way to pay for it. This could mean cuts to K-12 schools and higher education, health care, programs for the disabled or public safety. The measure also requires no public audits, contains no penalties for misuse of funds, and includes no guarantee money will be spent on students. Proposition 92 does, however, give an expanded state board “full power” to set salaries and other benefits for additional bureaucrats and administrators with no independent oversight.
“We are all strong supporters of community colleges and the important role they play in educating Californians, but Prop. 92 is just not the answer to any challenges they face,” said Bill Hauck, president of the California Business Roundtable, whose organization includes improving California’s public schools as a paramount goal.
Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association stated that “California’s community colleges are important to all of us in higher education, but the fact is, we are all underfunded and helping one public education system at the expense and detriment of others is unacceptable and simply bad public policy.”
Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce said, “California businesses strongly support our community college system and believe in the value of the education and training community colleges provide. Community colleges are an integral part of our state’s overall higher education offering. However, California still faces chronic budget deficits - projected to be $10 billion in 2008. The scheme contained in Proposition 92 would further aggravate the state’s budget crisis and threaten California’s ability to address other pressing needs, like funding health care, public safety and education. California just can’t afford Proposition 92.”
The No on 92 campaign points out that while the initiative mandates new spending - almost a billion dollars in just the first three years according to California Legislative Analyst’s Office - it does not identify a way to pay for it.
“The legislature will have to look to taxpayers to foot the bill for the increased costs in Proposition 92 by raising taxes on products and services or hiking our income tax,” said Teresa Casazza, acting president of the California Taxpayers’ Association.
Other opponents of the measure include the League of Women Voters of California and the Small Business Action Committee.
Californians for Fair Education Funding today also announced the launch of the No on Prop. 92 website: www.noprop92.org.