I am currently a senior at Bear River High School. As part of an assignment for my AP government course, I recently attended a board meeting of the Nevada Joint Union High School District.
During this meeting I was struck by several realizations about the financial state of the district and how the outcome of the upcoming vote on California Propositions 30 and 38 will affect schools locally and across the state.
The district’s financial projections for the 2012-2013 year anticipate a net operating loss of $3.2 million, a loss four times greater than that of the 2011-2012 year.
The district has been forced to cut funding to certain programs and retain funds unspent by certain departments which would normally be carried over to each department’s budget for the following year.
The district is anxiously awaiting the Nov. 6 election as the results of the vote on Propositions 30 and 38 are poised to have a great effect on the district’s 2012-2013 budget and financial strategy.
Their financial recap presentation stated that $1.6 million of funding would be immediately allocated to the district if Proposition 30 were to pass in November, roughly halving their loss for the year.
If the initiative does not pass, they would be forced to drastically increase their budget reduction processes.
Historically speaking, California voters have rejected initiatives involving sales and income tax rate increases, which are exactly what Propositions 30 and 38 entail. My concern is that voters across the state are unaware of the ramifications a rejection of these initiatives will have on education.
Gov. Jerry Brown has been pushing hard for these propositions and in doing so has approved automatic cuts that will drastically reduce the budgets of schools and community colleges, as well as those of police, fire and parks departments, if Proposition 30 is rejected by voters.
While I will not take a stance on the appropriateness of the governor’s actions, the threat to education if the initiative is rejected is clear. As they carry automatic cuts, these propositions are inherently different from those of previous elections.
I hope adequate awareness of these differences can be raised so that voters can take an extra moment to weigh the costs and benefits of these initiatives as opposed to habitually rejecting tax increases as they have in years past.
Attention needs to be drawn to the quandary Propositions 30 and 38 pose and voters need to be informed of the impact these initiatives and the automatic cuts attached to them will have on education and other public services.
Sean Burris lives in Lincoln.
My concern is that voters across the state are unaware of the ramifications a rejection of these initiatives will have on education.