School Funding: Proposition 98

I would like to urge everyone to vote for Proposition 98. Our schools badly need the additional money and they badly need the stable, consistent funding that Proposition 98 will provide. For example, the elementary school near me hasn't been re-roofed since it was built 34 years ago. Its budget for replacing furniture this year is $600. The total cost of the furniture must be over $60,000; so apparently the state thinks it will last a 100 years, on average. All the drinking fountains, except one, are so corroded you can't drink from them. The exception was repaired this month using lottery money. The copy machine was bought by donations, because the district never had enough money in the budget.

I don't know whether teachers are underpaid--but I know we need a lot more money for teachers. We need funds to hire more teachers. California has the most students per classroom in the nation. Our classes are at or above the legal maximum. And it's getting worse; school population is growing faster than classroom space. The single, simplest, most effective thing we can do to improve education in primary schools is reduce class size. But it takes money; not just this year, but a dependable budget that districts can plan on.

Proposition 98 will take the school budget out of the political arena. This year, like other years before, school districts had to submit their budgets to the state while the Legislature and the governor were still bickering over what the funding would be.

The governor and the legislators seem to think of the schools as just another special interest to be manipulated.



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