Blog: Prop. 30: Be Careful What You Ask For

With the passing of Prop 30 is education fixed? The TV ads said, "No More Cuts," but there will be more cuts this year and for the next few years. The public bought the lottery all over again.

Voters across California have approved the governor's proposition that would increase taxes on the wealthy and would add a quarter-cent sales tax to everyone. Was this the right solution for public education?

It is my opinion that we got the lottery all over again. It will give the public and many laid-off educators a sense that everything will be OK very soon. This is not the case! Will local school districts be hiring laid-off teachers, reopening school libraries and purchasing new computers or iPads for all students anytime soon? No!

There is a false sense that all of this money generated by Prop. 30 will go for education. Even though the governor has indicated it will go toward paying down the deficit and support lost funds for education, there will not be nearly enough money coming from this proposition to make up for the billions of dollars lost over the last five years.

The recovery in education will be slow and school districts will still be making cuts in their budgets this next year. A few laid-off teachers may be rehired, but this will be a slow process.

I personally was not a supporter of Prop. 30 because it is not a big-picture solution for education in California. We were 46th in funding for education and with Prop. 30 we will remain at the bottom of the list.

— Bill Habermehl was the superintendent of the Orange County Department of Education until his retirement earlier this year.

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Dawn Urbanek November 12, 2012 at 02:00 AM
If only you had made this position more clear, or retired sooner. Mr. Habermehl- would students in CUSD be better off if we closed or streamlined OCDE and gave those funds to local school districts... do we need all of these layers of bureaucracy?
Yeparoo November 12, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Just more right-wing Patch propaganda. Seems like a replay of Penny's article. What would happen if the state raised taxes and got barely more new net tax revenue, after the millionaires left town. Who would be left to pay taxes?
Matt November 12, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Yeparoo writes: "Just more right-wing Patch propaganda...." Yeparoo, Mr. Habermehl's statement is accurate. The money that Prop 30 will generate this year alone has already been spent for education by the State. That is why the tax increase will be retroactive to Jan 1. Again, he is absolutely spot on when he says the recovery will be slow and more local trimming education may be required. California has relied too long on unsteady forms of revenue and major changes in the tax base are still required before any major spending can take place.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) November 12, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Hi Matt, Yep is a long-time commentator from OC, so I'm pretty sure it's safe to say he was being facetious. But it is the beginning of an interesting discussion. Gov. Brown's budget this year was 5 percent bigger than the 2011-12 budget, so it's not that we didn't have the money. It's just that it was allocated differently, and he plaintively asked the public to make up the difference for schools.
MFriedrich November 12, 2012 at 05:43 PM
The main point that resonates from this post is that Governor Brown and his administration have a notorious track record of poorly estimating revenues that result from tax increases. This point was again lost on majority voters. To me the biggest issue, which California Dept of Education refuses to admit and address, is that we have a proverbial army of non-performing teachers out there who are soaking up salary and benefits and going through the motions of their work. They are tired, have no energy for the job anymore and simply want "what's coming" to them. Fine. Yes, more funding is needed for K-12 education. We need to offer competitive salaries and benefits. But with that money, we need to to be able fire the deadweight and bring in younger, better and more effective K-12 teachers. Otherwise California K-12 education will continue to circle the drain at 48th in the union in academic performance, right next to Louisiana and Mississippi. If you think tax increases are going to shore up CA's funding problem, perhaps it will in the short run. Over the long-run, CA education is hosed unless there are reforms. If you think tax increases are going to improve CA's performance in K-12 education, that's just wishful, delusional thinking.
Yeparoo November 12, 2012 at 06:43 PM
So any guesses regarding the state budget shortfall for January? Will Prop 30 plug that up until we get the May revision showing a surprising $17b shortfall, meaning unexpected necessary cuts, guessing to education. mf - No local control of tax dollars for education means money grows legs and walks away. We can raise taxes all we want, and very little will actually go to education. It's sorta like UN aid to sent to Uganda to feed the poor and solve hunger. This is a broken record of fiscal fraud.
Capo Parent Too November 13, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Thank you! What people do not understand is that Corporations, unlike homeowners, can grandfather in their property and their property taxes do not go up when sales or transfer of property takes place. Their rates stay lower unlike homeowners who have to keep paying higher property taxes, even if minimal and with the real estate bubble bursting, it really hurt the whole system.
randy November 13, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Agree! That's what I thought. It is about time for all to have a fair share whether or not we like it. If I were the baby boomer, I would share responsibilities for unborn Americans and new generation of teachers who will teach them. No place like the Golden State.
fact checker November 13, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Ah yes m, it's not a funding problem it's a teacher problem. The fact that CA is 46th in the country for funding has nothing to do with it. The largest class sizes in the nation for decades and the problem must be the teachers. All the good teachers must have gone elsewhere, huh? Do you have any basis of fact to back up this opinion? An army?
OC Mom November 13, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Yes, too bad he didn't speak up sooner. I know for a fact that the Community Home Education Program with 4 learning centers in Costa Mesa, Mission Viejo, Anaheim and possibly Cypress pays it's Educational Facilitators ie. paper pushers who are credentialed teachers who collect work samples etc. from homeschooling parents over $100K a piece. They offer a few music, art, Social Studies and Science classes a month. Other than that there is no teaching involved. They receive about $22k a piece for each student enrolled. This should end. It is a duplicate program to Choose in CUSD and with Connections Academy and other homeschool Charter schools available this shouldn't exist. The same goes for ACCESS which helps potential high school dropouts and at risk youth receive their High School Diplomas. I know there are other programs in Dana Point and online that can do the same for a lot less money because they aren't under the same budget as juvenille corrections education.
Shripathi Kamath November 13, 2012 at 08:12 PM
We need to examine the madness that is the ballot initiative itself. Voters can by simple majority approve any *permanent* spending (typically) measure they like, and then legislators have to figure out how to make budgets work. We have a Prop. related mandate to spend 40% (?) of the general fund on education. Imagine if someone got a ballot initiative that made it mandatory for 70% of the budget to be spent on education. And/Or at least 25% to be spent on law enforcement. It may pass during a period when we have record revenues and one horrific crime, and then we are stuck with it. The main focus is on Prop 30. The real scare is that the legislature has the necessary power to finally get past the silly 2/3rd majority to increase taxes rule. Not a thing Brown or anyone can do about it. It is the silliness of the ballot initiative and this obstructionist/polarizing ideology, ironically, that ushered this mess in. You never want to force the ideological battle which has now resulted in a truly scary mandate for the 2/3rds. Way too easy to raise taxes is what we have chosen, by making it way too difficult to raise them even when needed. I guess the next ballot initiative will be a silly equalizer like we need 75% majority to raise taxes. We have already tied education and money in a deadly embrace. Largely, the only arguments one hears are: 1 more money will definitely help, or 2 more money will definitely not help.
Matt November 15, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Shripathi Kamath writes: "We need to examine the madness that is the ballot initiative itself. Voters can by simple majority approve any *permanent* spending (typically) measure they like, and then legislators have to figure out how to make budgets work." Now it might be a good time for the legislature to create a law baring changes to California's constitution by the initiative process. California is only one of two states that allows those type of initiatives. Nevada is the other, except Nevada requires initiatives changing it's constitution to be voted on twice, in consecutive elections.
On the right side November 18, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Fact checker, The ONLY fact needed is that CALIFORNIA IS 46th!!!!
On the right side November 18, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Bottom line is, there is more than enough money. There are lousy teachers and administers that are causing this. Ca didn't become 46th overnight!! Until the teachers and system are upgraded, things will NOT change.
TVOR November 19, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I think the bottom line is people are too easily swayed by well made commercials and savvy politicians. If you give someone your money with the expectation they will do good with it and they piss it away, why the hell would you agree to give them even more?
fact checker November 19, 2012 at 02:41 AM
And 47th in funding. Do you get what you pay for?
fact checker November 19, 2012 at 02:43 AM
That must be what the out of state financial interests who funded the No on 30 and 32 campaigns are saying to themselves.
Alberto Barrera November 19, 2012 at 03:24 AM
I'm sadly expecting an increase in revenue, and yes, that is a bad thing.
Imperfect Man November 20, 2012 at 04:34 AM
"...it is not a big-picture solution for education..." I haven't seen a "big-picture solution" come out of Sacramento or Washington D.C. in my lifetime. Did someone really expect to see anything different in this election?
That Temecula Guy November 20, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Taxes collected for the present year should be applied to the following year, with a mandatory cap and no borrowing except on secured assets. When the savings account runs dry, no more spending. I know, I know... Sacramento would go nuts over such common sense, but I had to say it. I don't get why we spend more than what is in our pockets with no way of really ever paying back the debt on what we borrow. Why does the state get away with it year after year? If I did the same thing, I'd be in jail, or sleeping on the street.
fact checker November 20, 2012 at 05:06 PM
No, you would be paying your mortgage and maybe some credit card bills. if you lost your job you might lose your house or you might get lucky and dig your way out. The state lost revenues and must still provided an increasingly expensive public education to every child. It's really quite simple.
Imperfect Man November 20, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Oh, you mean like what the Lottery was supposed to help provide, but the state took a dollar away from schools for every dollar the Lottery put in. That kind of simple? Are we talking about the same state that has passed more and more laws to put and keep people in jail and prison, increasing the number of prisons, paying to fight lawsuits over the unconstitutional treatment of those people they put into prisons, while spending a ridiculously less amount of money on educating children? Is that the state you are talking about? If so, then yes, it is really quite simple, isn't it...
TVOR November 20, 2012 at 09:46 PM
If you could not pay your mortgage but you were still out giving a lot of money to questionable charitable causes you can damn sure bet the bank would not extend you more credit.
fact checker November 20, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Public education is a pillar of our democracy, not a charity.
MFriedrich November 20, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Factchecker, come back to me after you've viewed the current organizational structure and direct reporting levels of the California Department of Education. Byzantine rule was less complicated and far more more effective. And you could fire people.
Dawn Urbanek November 21, 2012 at 02:34 AM
The ACLU lawsuit re: fees and fundraising documented how public education is no longer what it was meant to be- a free and equal education for every child no matter how rich or poor. Now only schools that have foundations get extra aids and librarians extra science, art and music programs. Education in California is no longer free- and it is no longer equal.
Dawn Urbanek November 21, 2012 at 02:36 AM
See Letter to the Editor- Fundraising pays for CUSD Core Programs http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-fundraising-pays-for-cusd-core-programs-013ce790
TVOR November 21, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Fact, you are right, education is not a charity, but many of the things that have taken funding that could have been used for education and pissed it away on worthless pork barrel projects and such have drained the funds until the government can no longer fund education without taxing an already overtaxed people even more..


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