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SCV schools laud voters for Prop. 30

However districts say funding problems linger despite passage

Posted: November 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Local school district officials report they’re pleased at the passage of Proposition 30 this month, but they warn it will not be a magic cure-all for the fiscal woes of local schools.

Proposition 30 raised the state’s income tax for those who make $250,000 or more per year, as well as hiking the sales tax statewide. The increased tax rates will generate several billion dollars in additional revenue, supporters of the measure argued.

Proposition 38, another tax-hike measure on the Nov. 6 ballot, failed on Election Day.

Joan Lucid, the superintendent of the Saugus Union School District, said she was relieved when Proposition 30 passed.

“We took a breath,” she said. “We had planned for the worst and hoped for the best.”

Lucid said Proposition 30 will allow the district to stabilize its budgets in the short term.

“But going into 2013-2014 we still have some major issues in terms of funding,” Lucid said.

The story is much the same at the Newhall School District.

“We are very grateful that it passed,” said district Superintendent Marc Winger. “But I think people have to understand we’re not out of the woods, but maybe we can make it through them a little bit better.”

Much like Lucid, Winger emphasized that Proposition 30 stabilizes the district budget in the short term but does not backfill areas that have already been cut.

“I’m grateful,” he said. “But in the short term it just stems a tide of red ink.”

The story is much the same in the William S. Hart Union High School District and the Castaic Union School District. Representatives from both districts also emphasized that Proposition 30 is more about stabilizing already-cut budgets than building things back to where they were before the recession.

James Gibson, superintendent of the Castaic district, said it is receiving less than 80 percent of its previously budgeted funding from the state.

“(Proposition 30) may have stopped the sinking ship,” Gibson said. “But it certainly didn’t bring funding levels up to where they were.”

Unlike some local school districts, Sulphur Springs School District passed its budget assuming Proposition 30 would be approved by voters, according to district Superintendent Robert Nolet.

Doing so spared the district from making immediate cuts such as closing school library facilities or laying off staff, Nolet said.

“Because of Prop. 30 passing, things have changed from the train coming at us in the tunnel to actually being the light at the end of the tunnel,” Nolet said.

While Proposition 30 may not fix the preexisting funding problems for local districts, officials at each made sure to thank Santa Clarita Valley voters for the role they played in making sure it passed.

“Kudos to our voters for really looking at their public schools and voting to sustain them and to affirm the work that’s being done,” Lucid said. “It’s not easy to walk into that voting booth and know you’re taxing yourself.”

lmoney@the-signal.com

661-287-5525

 

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