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California State PTA Backs November 2012 Ballot Measure That Would Generate Funding for Schools

December 1, 2011

The California State PTA announced on Monday that the organization is backing a proposed November 2012 ballot measure -- titled the “Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Act.” Proponents of the ballot measure are expected to start circulating petitions soon to qualify the measure for the ballot.

In a letter sent on Monday, California State PTA President Carol Kocivar told members and supporters that
As you may remember, our recent survey showed that “adequate school funding” is extremely important or important to 98.5 percent of you — the highest-rated issue by far.”

Based on our members’ input, as well as the strong authority of our past convention resolutions and position statements, California State PTA has taken a position in support of a proposed initiative for the November, 2012 statewide ballot — The Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act.  This measure would generate substantial additional funding to begin restoring educational programs for all students that have been cut or eliminated.  This measure would:

  1. Raise approximately $1,300 per pupil in new funding per year to help restore programs, including instruction in the arts, physical education, science, technology and engineering (STEM); reduced class sizes; and more counselors, librarians, and nurses.   
  2. Allocate the money on a per-student basis to be spent directly at school sites, after required public meetings that allow for input on priorities and spending. 
  3. Establish accountability and transparency for how the money is used.  
  4. Provide that approximately 85 percent of the money goes to local K-12 public schools, including charter schools, and 15 percent to improve and expand public preschool and early childhood education programs.
  5. Include an additional allocation for English language learners and low-income students.
  6. Generate the additional revenues through a graduated increase to the personal income tax, which our PTA authorities would support as a broad-based, equitable tax with maximum local control that makes the needs of children a priority.

There are a number of other potential ideas for ballot measures being discussed for November 2012.  Our state’s leaders have met with many different organizations and individuals and researched the various initiative ideas. We believe this measure, sponsored by the Advancement Project, a nonprofit public policy group, is the one that best meets California’s need for substantial new revenues to begin restoring education programs.

The initiative is expected to be filed with the Attorney General’s office this week. We plan to play an active role in the initial announcement and in uniting other organizations, leaders and individuals across the state to qualify and pass this measure.

We will share more information with all members very soon, and, once the measure is filed we will begin providing more details about the plans for communications and signature gathering.  We will also begin scheduling briefings to help you and your members understand the details of the proposed initiative and have an opportunity to ask questions.

This is a bold measure. We will need the support of all of our PTA units, councils and districts, and I know we are up to the task.

This initiative will help give all of our children the programs and resources they should receive as part of a well-rounded education.

November 2012 is an opportunity our children can’t afford to miss.  Now more than ever, California State PTA needs to take the lead.

Carol Kocivar
California State PTA

Source:  California State PTA