800+ Educators Kickoff Signature Gathering for Schools and Communities First Initiative

First of Many Events Across the State to Collect Signature for Measure That Reclaims $12 Billion Annually for Schools and Communities

LOS ANGELES – Today, more than 800 of California’s educators joined with other labor and community coalition partners to officially kickoff statewide signature gathering for the Schools and Communities First campaign. The initiative ensures that our schools and communities have the resources to educate all our kids and the services to support all our families. It closes commercial property tax loopholes benefiting a fraction of corporations and wealthy investors, without affecting homeowners or renters, and reclaims $12 billion every year to fund world-class schools and strengthen local economies to benefit all Californians. Together, we need 1.6 million signatures total in order to have enough valid signatures to be on the 2020 ballot. The California Teachers Association is committed to gathering 150,000 signatures.

“For far too long, public education has received the short end of the stick when it comes to providing the resources our students need to succeed. But today, we are here with more than 800 educators to say, ‘No more!’ and announce a measure that will significantly improve the lives of our students and the communities where we raise our families. The fight for equity requires deliberate action, and Schools and Communities First would start to undo the effects of decades of chronic underfunding of our schools, colleges and public services,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd.

Supporters are joining the kickoff by using #CTAStateCouncil and #SchoolsAndCommunitiesFirst, and they are adding a Schools and Communities First frame to their Facebook profile picture. Additionally, the public can follow @WeAreCTA and @Schools1stCA on Twitter and Instagram for all the campaign updates.

“For the last four decades, wealthy investors and big corporations have not been paying their fair share. They take advantage of tax schemes and loopholes, all while passing costs on to you and me. Whether we work as caregivers for children and the elderly, social workers, sanitation workers, nurses or college faculty, most of us want the same things for our families: the ability to thrive and determine our own future. That’s why SEIU workers are ALL IN on the Schools and Communities First campaign. Let’s end the corporate tax breaks and invest that money in our children’s education and the services that matter to our families,” said Bob Schoonover, President of SEIU California and SEIU Local 721.

“California is home to more than 1 in 4 U.S. billionaires, yet we have the highest rates of poverty and mass incarceration in the entire country. This is what happens when we put the wealthiest corporations in the world ahead of our own people. The Schools and Communities First Initiative is a bold solution that will end the chronic underfunding that has hurt generations of Californians. We are ready to demonstrate what’s possible when we have the courage to fight for what our families deserve: a word-class education system and neighborhoods where all of us can thrive,” said Karla Zombro of California Calls.

“We all know we can’t solve our huge problems without everyone doing – and paying – their fair share. Working people like nurses and teachers are investing in our work and communities, but the huge, multibillion-dollar corporations have been gaming the system. Nurses support Schools and Communities First because we have a vision where families—regardless of race or income—have stable housing, in safe neighborhoods, and access to all the support they need in times of trauma. Strong community resources funded by this initiative will give our students, families, and communities an opportunity to thrive,” said SEIU Local 721 member, Theresa Wyatt-Monroe, RN.

The campaign has until March 3, 2020 to submit the required signatures to each county.


The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.