On the ballot this Nov. 6 is a state constitutional amendment known as Prop 30, which, according to a Huffington Post article, if not passed would mean cuts to California education of around $5.4 billion starting in the 2012-13 school year.
“This is an attack on the middle class and the poor,” CHS English department chair Whitney Grummon says.
While Carmel High is a public school, Grummon notes that “Carmel can afford to take a hit much more than schools that have been struggling for a decade.”
This is partially due to the amount of community support CHS gets, which is rare in California.
The proposition calls for a temporary increase in sales tax for four years and income tax for the wealthiest residents for seven years. This is expected to generate about $7-9 billion each year to help fund education.
On the other hand, if Prop 30 doesn’t get passed, “trigger cuts” will go into effect, hurting California’s already strained education system.
The damage that would be done to K-12 education could, conceivably, be much worse.
“It is predicted that school districts may have to reduce the school year by two to four weeks because of the impact of further cuts,” State Assemblyman Bill Monning (D) warns.
Along with a shortened school year, many schools will continue to experience teacher layoffs and cuts to sports programs, music and other important aspects of a school.
Schools such as North Monterey County High School, where money for supplies is nonexistent, classes average 38 and most athletic coaches are volunteers, would be devastated even more.
“Such cuts would diminish the quality of education in California and erode the prospects for many California students to remain competitive in national rankings, college admissions and in preparation for future careers,” Monning adds.
The University of California system will stand to lose $375 million, and the California State University system will lose around $250 million.
According to a Los Angeles Times article, the U.C. system would immediately increase tuition by $2,400, along with more class cuts and staff layoffs.
At the same time, the tuition at CSU campuses would go up $150 each semester, and it would require students to pay $100 extra for each unit of a repeated class.
“There is waning support for schools and education, not just in California, but across the country,” CHS Principal Rick Lopez says. “We need to prioritize education so that our kids in the state of California are given opportunities to have quality education supported through decisions we make.”
Grummon also emphasized that Carmel High is not in an insulated bubble, and even if Prop 30 does not affect Carmel students directly now, it will once they leave high school.