Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Prop 38: A LETTER TO OUR TEACHERS from California State PTA President Carol Kocivar

from CAPTA |





2327 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95816-5014 916.440.1985 • FAX 916.440.1986 • E-mail •

I believe a great strength of the PTA is spelled out in our name: Parent TEACHER Association.

Unlike new reform groups who pride themselves in “taking on the teachers” and quite frankly blame teachers for problems caused by the education budget crisis, the PTA at its core values our teachers.

In fact, that is part of the PTA’s purpose:

“To bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of children and youth.”

You see it every day in our schools, where PTAs have stepped in and stepped up to support our teachers and our schools.

In the past, PTAs helped add the extras.

Now – because of the horrendous budget cuts to schools the past several years – we see more PTAs paying for teaching positions, and supporting personnel, afterschool programs, education materials and even toilet paper. In my community, I see our parents support new teachers as they move into a new classroom and provide teacher breakfasts, celebrations and supplies. However they can help, parents and PTAs try.

This is a tough time. We have seen the disappearance of our counselors, our librarians, arts and music, small class sizes, instructional time, summer school… The list goes on and on.

We have seen great and dedicated teachers lose their jobs and leave the profession. This is a loss not only for the dreams of that teacher but also for our society. Our children and our state and our nation depend on high-quality caring teachers.

PTA members throughout California have told us that adequate funding and a complete quality education are their highest priorities.

This past year, in the tradition of the PTA – where we identify urgent issues and take action to solve them – the PTA said, “Enough is enough.” Public education in California has been decimated and we need to do something right now so that an entire generation of children is not denied the quality education it deserves.

And, we felt, we needed to do more than just another campaign to stop deeper cuts. That’s why the PTA helped write and is supporting an initiative – Proposition 38 – on the ballot in November.

The idea is simple and straightforward: Generate significant additional revenue to start to restore the programs and services that have been cut.

Move California out of the basement in school funding. Make sure new dollars go directly to every single public school in California to support our children, help our teachers and improve our schools.

And ensure the new money goes for things we know improve student achievement and readiness for college and careers:

 Professional development, teaching materials and technology for our teachers and our schools;

 Money to hire back teachers and restore small class sizes and instructional time;

 Money for arts, science, P.E., counselors and librarians and support staff;

 Money targeted for our most needy students so that schools have additional resources to meet their additional needs; and

 Local control of funding so that teachers, parents and communities have a say in how the money is spent at their local school.

That’s the motive and passion behind our efforts, pure and simple.

PTA supports Proposition 38 because it provides more money for every local school, guaranteed, for 12 years – a generation of kids. And it requires local parent and educator input into how the new dollars are spent at each school.

Proposition 38 generates new revenue through a sliding scale income tax increase, with the wealthy paying the most. According to the independent legislative analyst, higher tax rates would result in higher tax liabilities on only about 60 percent of state personal income tax filers.

(In fact, Proposition 38 relies less on the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers for revenues than Proposition 30, which includes a sales tax provision.)

We also want to be up front. Proposition 38 requires the new money to be used to restore programs and services for students; it cannot be used to increase salaries for current staff. We value the hard work of our teachers, but given the depth of budget cuts the past several years, parents and the public strongly support using new funding first to restore what has been lost.

But let’s also be clear: Under Proposition 38, schools absolutely may hire back teachers or staff to restore programs, reduce class sizes or expand instructional time.

Proposition 38 will lift us from 47th in the nation in per-student funding and give teachers and educators the resources they need to help all of our children succeed.

We recognize there are differences of opinion about the ballot measures this November. We know Proposition 30, not 38, is the initiative supported by the two major state teachers’ associations, and we fully respect that.

Because PTAs have always been committed to a collaborative relationship with our teachers, we want you to understand our reasons for supporting Proposition 38 as well. And we hope you will take the time to learn more about the initiative yourself to see how it helps our schools.

This November is a critical time for California’s future. We know that many are worried about the way the legislature has structured the current state budget to require disproportionate “trigger” cuts to schools

The trigger cuts approved in the budget are based only on one scenario of Proposition 30 failing; the legislature did not develop a similar scenario for Proposition 38 passing.

The legislature and districts could revise their budgets after the election and find ways to address this, knowing significant new money will be coming from Proposition 38. That’s not the solution the legislature envisioned, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good one.

PTA is proud to work closely with teachers and we are proud to support an effort that guarantees a dramatic infusion of new funding for schools.

I hope this answers a lot of the questions we have heard from teachers about PTA’s support for Proposition 38.

We want to hold the biggest PTA fundraiser in history to start to restore quality education for our teachers, our parents and most importantly, for our children.



Carol Kocivar, President

California State PTA



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