Prop. 30 gives students another chance at education


Illustration by Rusel Ramirez

By Elitza Batchiyska:

For years, teachers have been losing pay and students have been losing crucial academic days. But the recent passage of Proposition 30 aims to repair the drastically underfunded enterprise that is California education.

Education cuts have been hitting California public schools for years, reaching their peak in 2009 and stemming onward to create a ripple of protests over lost teachers, lost classes and lost resources that students and educators need in order to maintain their curriculums and complete standards.

As one of the hundreds of public schools in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) has faced drawbacks from these budget shortfalls. However, the drawbacks at DPMHS have probably been some of the worst.

Like many schools, we have lost our art program and some of our teachers. But, in addition to a small budget, we have a small student body, as well, which means DPMHS students have really struggled to adapt to the limited resources they have been given.

Last year, DPMHS only had four AP classes and was nearly deprived of its music program entirely. As a small school, only so much money can roll in, but the size of our student body doesn’t mean our students need new textbooks, calculators and other necessary school supplies any less than larger schools.

So, as election season rolled around this year, many parents, students and educators crossed their fingers for the victory of one of two propositions that could possibly save the future of California education.

Of these two propositions, Prop. 30 passed and promised the public an economic revamp to the California school system, with some conditions of course. Prop. 30 would increase the California base sales tax by a quarter of a cent. Also, it would increase the tax rates for households that earn an income of over $250,000 a year.

Needless to say, for the possible effects Prop 30 will have on future generations, the circumstances seem well worth it. If Prop 30 did not pass, this school year would have been shortened by three weeks, moving the end of the school year to late April/early May.

During a recent meeting held Nov. 9 by the Board of Education, a vote was conducted that decided the academic year would be restored to the full 180 days, as opposed to the previous 175. In addition, teachers would receive 10 days of lost pay. The schedule is not set to change until second semester, when days will be added with an expected school year end date of early-mid June.

The recent Thanksgiving break was the last set of furlough days LAUSD will assign this school year.

Many students weren’t too relieved to find out about the elongation of the current school year, but may be content to know that the approval of Proposition 30 could mean the return of many of their favorite classes and better opportunities for their future.

Public higher education institutions have also been affected by budget cuts, including the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems. In the last few years, constant increases in the cost of tuition have taken place. According to an article from the Daily Californian, seven of the UC’s, and CSU Long Beach and Chico, experienced a 40 percent tuition increase between the 2008-2011 academic years.

After the passage of Proposition 30, both university systems had to recall tuition hikes and additional fees for the upcoming school year.

We may have a longer semester awaiting us, but think of it like this: the yes-vote some of your family members, teachers and friends placed has provided you with new opportunities.

Your college tuition could be more stable, the classroom you currently sit in will be better equipped and programs like art and music will return to their place in order to continue opening up the minds and imaginations of students.

A better education means a better future, and we are the leaders of that future. Improved knowledge and resources will prepare us for the real world and the challenges we will face within it.