Survey shows voters support tax extensions to spare schools

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown

A survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of
California offers a sliver of hope for California school systems,
which are waiting to see if temporary tax extensions will be
approved pending a special election in June. Read further for
survey findings.
Gilroy

A survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California offers a sliver of hope for California school systems, which are waiting to see if temporary tax extensions will be approved pending a special election in June.

According to the survey, 53 percent of Californians support Gov. Jerry Brown’s special election proposal to extend tax and fee increases, which include a 5-year extension on a personal income tax increase, a sales tax increase and a hike in California’s vehicle license fee.

The survey also covered other statistics including Brown’s approval rating, raising tax revenue from corporations and consensus on Californian’s knowledge gap, health care and the tax system.

The survey states most voters would pay higher taxes to spare schools. It shows solid majorities of adults oppose spending cuts in K-12 education at 75 percent, and higher education at 63 percent.

As for increasing taxes to spare K-12 education, the survey shows 71 percent of Californians are willing. For higher education, 59 percent are willing.

It’s better for the Gilroy Unified School District for the temporary tax increases and fee increase to be passed. However GUSD is already in the hole and facing possible layoffs, which will have to be announced by March 15 if there are any.

According to GUSD Fiscal Services, current flat funding from the state in 2011-2012 already results in a loss of $196,000 from Proposition 98, which was passed in 1998 and guarantees minimum state funding. This will result in a cut of $18.34 per GUSD student.

Even if tax extensions are approved, GUSD administrators are unnerved by next year’s ominous absence of one-time stimulus monies for GUSD – $6.5 million in 2009-2010 and $2 million this year – coupled with a slice of the funding pie going to Gilroy Prep School set to open fall 2011.

If the taxes are rejected, GUSD Fiscal Services say “further unspecified cuts would be required.”

If the tax extensions and fee increase aren’t passed, GUSD Fiscal Services say a $2 billion reduction in funding will occur, resulting in a loss of about $330 per student for the average district.

According to GUSD Fiscal Services, “districts will need to plan for both eventualities, until the fate of the tax extensions is determined.”

Regardless of what happens, GUSD Superintendent Deborah Flores said the 2011-2012 will be GUSD’s most challenging budget year ever.

“It will be necessary to make significant cuts in order to maintain fiscal stability,” she said.

The survey released by the PPIC is the 45th in the Californians and Their Government series, which is conducted periodically to examine the social, economic, and political trends that influence public policy preferences and ballot choices, according to the PPIC.

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