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By David B. Goldberg

Our students have paid more than their fair share.

Before 1978, California was at the top of the nation in education funding. Our schools were world-class models of a society that valued education. People came from all over for the California Dream.

CTA Vice President David Goldberg

We had had free universities and community colleges. There were librarians and nurses in every school, and we had reasonable class sizes.

But today, the reality is much different. At my daughter’s high school in Los Angeles, there are 2,400 students and one counselor, restrooms that close for months, and a lack of desks that causes students to run to class in the hope it’s not the day they’re left without.

While it plays out differently across California, not one of our students is getting what they deserve. As the richest state in the nation and the fifth-largest economy in world, we still rank 39th in per-pupil funding and lag the top five states by more than $10,000 per student.

And now, with the state facing unprecedented shortfalls from the COVID pandemic, it could get even worse. But we have the opportunity to turn things around for our students and our communities this election with Proposition 15, the Schools and Communities First initiative!

Prop. 15 will reclaim $12 billion a year for our schools, colleges and communities by mandating that some of the richest corporations in the world finally pay their fair share of taxes. Prop. 15 will not change property tax protections that are in place now for homes and agricultural land — homeowners, small businesses and farmland will not pay 1 cent more.

Prop. 15 will close corporate tax loopholes, leveling the playing field and making big corporations and wealthy investors finally pay their fair share of property taxes. When we sell our house or buy a home, taxes are reassessed, but this isn’t the case for massive corporations, which continue to pay 1978-level taxes while our schools and communities are starved of resources.

Disneyland pays just 5 cents per square foot in property tax — eight times less than the average homeowner, even though admission has certainly increased from the 1978 price of $6.50. And don’t even get me started on oil companies like Chevron. These corporations have seen their profits bulge while avoiding paying their fair share, and school funding in the richest state in the history of the world has gone from first to worst.

Prop. 15 is not only our opportunity for change, it’s the fight of our generation!

Libraries, parks, summer job programs, roads, health care and affordable housing have all been starved, just like our schools. Think about what that additional money could do for your neighborhoods and schools, for your classrooms and for your work sites.

This will be a game changer for our communities and our students. But the other side is already spending millions to wage a massive media war, spreading lies and misinformation about Prop. 15. Those corporations want to protect their unfair advantage at the expense of the rest of us, and at the continued expense of our students.

The big corporations may have the money, but they don’t have the people. They don’t have you and they don’t have us. I know we can do this. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for! We can make this happen!

Talk to a chapter leader or inquire at your local CTA office to find out how to help bring home this important victory on Election Day. Our students are counting on us!

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