A possible crisis for California schools was averted this Election Day with the passage of Proposition 30. Had the proposition not passed, the MVLA School District would have faced additional budget cuts at the beginning of second semester.
Polling done prior to the election showed a close race. Proposition 30 raises taxes on those at the highest end of the income scale and includes a slight sales tax increase. The state budget was written assuming the measure would pass. This meant that if it failed, schools would face cuts, whereas its passage only ensures schools the amount of money promised to them, not any additional revenue.
Currently, the district receives about $4 million in funding from the state annually. If Proposition 30 did not pass, the district would be out $1.8 million, with that amount being deducted each year.
Because the district has a relatively large amount in savings, it would have likely been able to get through the current year reasonably well.
“In January through June we wouldn’t have felt much pain,” principal Wynne Satterwhite said. “The following year it might have had an impact because the 1.8 million was ongoing.”
Proposition 38 was also on the ballot and concerned school funding, but polls showed it trailing by so much that Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Joe White did not make a plan regarding budget adjustment in that scenario.
“We were prepared to make decisions,” White said. “We placed ourselves in a good position to do it.”
One way the district prepared itself for possible cuts was by not filling the spaces of retirees. Last year a few employees at the district office retired, and to save money the district has not hired anyone to fill those spaces.
Although this has proved to be helpful, budget cuts would have still been necessary if Proposition 30 had not passed. The budget sets up a tiered reduction system which dictates the order in which reductions are to be made. Satterwhite said that if cuts had to be made they would most likely be in areas of jobs, site allocations that keep the school running and the Athletic Department. If cuts made it into the classroom, students would likely have noticed larger class sizes and possibly the end of double set of books.
While the cuts would have caused issues, the district receives majority of its funding from sources other than the state. In addition to state funding, property taxes contribute the majority of the money the district recieves and the MVLA High School Foundation provides the district with $1.2 million.
“Millions and millions of dollars come from property taxes,” White said.
With the hypotheticals set aside, the district can continue this school year with the budget it began with.
“We’re just very glad we don’t have to make these cuts,” Satterwhite said.