Board adopts resolution supporting tax increase initiatives - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Board adopts resolution supporting tax increase initiatives

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of two initiatives to raise taxes that backers say would prevent deep cuts in education.

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal, The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, would raise income taxes for seven years on individuals earning more than $250,000 annually and families making more than $500,000. It would also increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years.

"What that initiative basically does is it prevents further cuts to education - and we can't take further cuts to education," board member Richard Barrera said. "Further cuts would be devastating."

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association on Tuesday began a campaign to attempt to persuade people not to sign the petition.

"The revenue raised from Jerry's potential initiative would go into California's general fund - there's no guarantee that it will fund education," association President Jon Coupal said.

"Given that the state's retirement funds are so far underwater that they're being viewed by James Cameron, odds are high that any new tax revenue will go directly to pension benefits." Cameron, the Academy Award-winning director of the 1997 film "Titanic," on March 26 completed the deepest solo dive in history.

The second initiative, Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment and Bond Debt Reduction Act, would raise $10 billion to $11 billion annually using a sliding scale income tax increase that would vary with taxpayers' ability to pay. The increase would expire in 12 years if not re-approved by voters.

The funds would be allocated to schools on a per pupil basis with funds going to school sites, not districts' headquarters. The act would also require procedures to be adopted to ensure parents, teachers and communities provide input on how to spend the funds, according to the resolution.

Barrera said the measure, also known as the Molly Munger initiative, for the name of the civil rights attorney who is its proponent, or the PTA initiative, was more of a long-term solution. At full implementation, it would provide SDUSD about $300 million more per year, which would allow for lowered class sizes, staff funding, restoring programs and school repairs, he said.

"Our Children, Our Future is about really providing the kind of funding that would restore California to being a leader in K-12 education in the way that we were a generation ago," Barrera said.
The initiative is opposed by the California Business Roundtable, whose chairman, Jerry Carnahan, said it "does not fix the broader economic issues needed to grow our economy."

Petitions are being circulated for the two proposals to qualify for the November ballot. The board in the resolution encouraged the public to sign the petitions and to vote in favor of the measures.

"We have to support the governor's initiative to stop the bleeding, but we also should be supporting the PTA initiative to restore California to being a leader in K-12 for the next generation," Barrera said.

If both proposals fail, the district could face a budget deficit as high as $120 million for the 2012-13 school year and $80 million the following year.

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