Our schools districts across the state have been plagued and placed in a position where we have had to close schools, cut or eliminate transportation, shorten school days, lay off staff and cap benefits as a norm in order to survive. When we look at our own school district over the past four years, we see over-sized classrooms, school closures, realignments, employees that have not returned and the fear of losing programs such as sports and arts. Even the possibility of our youths losing three weeks of classroom education is a strong possibility.
These possibilities can have a major impact, not merely to our students’ educations. It will have an economic effect on our local economy that would be devastating. We have been through very tough times in the employment arena, and many of us have experienced long term unemployment over the course of time. Fifty percent of our teachers and 85 percent of our support staff live in Madera County.
If deficit spending occurs, which is predicted after the first year to be at $10 million per year, the above-mentioned will happen in any combination affecting all areas of education, employment and the quality of life for our young people and adults in this county as well as the state.
If Proposition 30 does not pass, a total of $5.4 billion, called “triggered cuts,” would become automatic. This would cause $3 billion in cuts to K-12 schools and community colleges and $500 million to universities. The $3 billion will be cut in unrestricted funding. The remaining $2.4 billion in cuts would increase late payments to school districts and community colleges dating back to the 2011-12 levels.
If we look outside the school district and think of our local businesses with the employees they have, how many will close or reduce employees’ hours? Think how many jobs $10 million buys. The store clerks, waitresses, police officers, auto mechanics and fire safety will all be affected.
How many collisions have we seen so far in our already-depressed economy? We have already had increases in juvenile and adult crime, drugs and alcohol usage, mental-heath issues, family discord with increased verbal, emotional and physical abuse and increases in the divorce rates.
I, as your MUSD trustee of Area 2, and fellow Republican, ask that we put our party lines aside on this issue and ask ourselves, can we afford to have Prop. 30 fail? What will it cost our society if it does not pass?
Every two years you vote individuals into office to protect your children’s education and our community school districts. Now more than ever, your trustees need your help to fulfill our obligation to the public. I personally would be appreciative for a yes vote on Prop. 30 to do what you have asked of me.