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East Valley students call on voters to support education, Prop 30

COACHELLA, Calif. - A combination of College of the Desert students and Desert Mirage High Schoolers took to voters over the phone Monday night in Coachella.

With each dial tone, the volunteers hoped to reel in a "yes" vote on California's Proposition 30. The measure would temporarily raise income tax rates on high earners for seven years and boost the state sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years to avoid steep cuts in school funding and other programs.

"I want to go to law school to become a lawyer. However, budget cuts are making my goal more difficult to reach," said Mario Acosta, a junior at Desert Mirage High School.

Governor Jerry Brown says the money will also help ease education costs for students like Acosta, who hopes to attend NYU after graduation.

"I need to get scholarships in order to pay for my education. I know my parents cannot afford to pay for my education," said Acosta.

Universities and community colleges are bracing for the worst. K-12 schools are preparing for nearly $5 billion in cuts if the governor's November tax initiative doesn't pass.

"Seeing how it's been in the past few years, we just cannot afford that," said Lorraine Salas, a second-third grade teacher at Saul Martinez Elementary School.

Opponents of Prop 30 argue, first: more taxes. Second: includes no reform and no guarantee the money will reach or stay in the classroom.

"One of the bigger arguments is that it only provides funding to education the first year. Then there's flexibility for it to be spread around," said Francisco Lopez, a fellow of California Partnership.

For Acosta, he'll continue to call 300 valley registered voters a night until the election.

"I know this will affect me. I'm just letting them know why they should vote Prop 30, and why."

Another similar tax initiative at hand is Prop 38, which would raise taxes on all incomes over $7,300 to help with education and state debt payments for four years, then education for the last eight years.

If both Prop 38 and Prop 30 pass, the measure with the most "yes" votes wins and will take effect.

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