Leaders from the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach gathered recently to warn that all three institutions face crippling cutbacks if Gov. Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative (Proposition 30) fails. The three institutions stand to lose more than $72 million in their combined annual budgets on an ongoing basis.
“California must find a way to stabilize its volatile funding for K-12 and higher education. Without a basic commitment of resources from our state, our ability to serve students is in great peril. State cuts already are impacting students in significant ways, and yet further cuts to education loom,” stated a release from LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBCC Superintendent-President Eloy Ortiz Oakley and CSULB President F. King Alexander. The three education leaders held a news conference at CSULB to inform the public of pending negative impacts upon thousands of local students, families and employees.
Together the three institutions educate more than 142,000 students and employ more than 13,000 people, making public education Long Beach’s largest source of employment.
Prop. 30 increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. The initiative also increases sales and use tax by 1/4 cent for four years.
Failure to pass Prop. 30 would force LBUSD (California’s third largest school district) to cut an additional $35 million from its 2012-13 budget. This would be on top of the $22 million in programmatic cuts implemented in 2012-13, in addition to the more than 1,000 jobs that have been eliminated in the school district since 2008. LBUSD’s Board of Education approved a fiscal plan in March that calls for the following ideas to be considered should Prop. 30 fail:
- Reduce or eliminate high school sports
- Reduce school year from 180 days to 160
- Close multiple small schools
- Eliminate elementary music and visual arts
- Eliminate middle school sports
- Eliminate teacher-librarians
- Reduce or eliminate counselors
- Eliminate AVID college readiness program
- Eliminate all adult education offerings
- Increase class sizes
- Reduce number of Advanced Placement college prep classes in high schools
- Reduce or eliminate work-based learning programs
- Seek savings in employee health and welfare benefits
- Freeze certificated and classified hiring
- Change staff calendars, such as from 12-month to 10-month
- Eliminate all non-mandated transportation
- Eliminate all non-mandated testing
Statewide, the California State University system is bracing for a $250 million mid-year reduction in the event Prop. 30 fails. That amount equates to roughly $31 million in cuts at the CSULB campus.
The CSU system has already been cut $750 million, or 30 percent during the last 16 months. The Long Beach campus alone has witnessed a decline in state support from $205 million in 2007-08 to $131 million this fall with the potential of losing $31 million additional dollars if Gov. Brown’s tax initiative fails. This means CSULB has gone from receiving nearly 42 percent of all its revenues from the state in 2007-08 to 24 percent this fall, with the potential of this figure dropping to 19 percent this November. Although student tuition and fees have helped to mitigate these draconian reductions, student contributions have only replaced less than half of these state cuts.
LBCC is developing plans for a minimum of $2 million in reductions during the 2012-13 academic year to address the college’s structural budget deficit. These reductions will become effective July 1, 2013. The budget reduction target may increase by:
- Up to an additional $2 million ($2 million to $4 million total) in cuts if the state's budget assumptions on property taxes or student fees prove too optimistic even if Prop. 30 passes.
- An additional $6.4 million ($8.4 million total) if Prop. 30 fails.
About half of any of these reductions at LBCC will come from instructional programs, primarily affecting full-time faculty positions. The remaining reductions will result from measures that will impact the structure and administration of the college by reducing the number of management team and other staff positions as a result of the realignment of instructional and other programs.
California already has reduced funding to its community colleges by over $809 million, or 12 percent of its total funding, since 2008-09. LBCC general fund revenues have declined by more than $10.9 million – a 9.7 percent reduction.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. The deadline for voter registration is Monday, Oct. 22. Registering to vote is easier than ever and can be done online at sos.ca.gov, where voters can find a complete listing of measures that have qualified for the ballot.
Additional information about the upcoming election, including overviews of ballot initiatives affecting public schools, is available here,