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State Superintendent talks impact of Prop 30 and Prop 38

Tom Torlakson says a lot is at stake for desert schools on Election Day


COACHELLA, Calif. - Touring Cahuilla Desert Academy in Coachella, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson says a lot is at stake for schools like the middle school on Election Day. Torlakson said he's supporting both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38.

"They both get at restoring billions of dollars that the schools need in a slightly different way," he said.

Governor Jerry Brown's Prop 30 is a ballot measure that would raise the income tax on the state's highest earners for seven years and raise the state sales tax by a quarter percent for four years.

Prop 38 would increase the income tax for nearly all Californians for 12 years.

A new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California shows that voter support for both measures has declined since September. Now 48 percent of likely voters support Prop 30, that's a drop from the 52 percent in September.
Prop 38 has seen a 6 percent decrease, with only 39 percent of likely voters saying they support it.

Governor Brown warns that if both measures fail to pass, it would trigger $6 billion in automatic cuts.

Torlakson says, "That's a big fear. The schools have had some devastating cuts. We have some of the most crowded schools in the nation."

"A whole lot of districts will be in a lot of financial trouble. You'll see it degrade our education system even more," said Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent Darryl Adams.

The failure of both would axe about $8 million from CVUSD alone. Adams says he's in favor of Prop 30.

"Prop 38, there's not enough guarantees for me when the money will be available," he said.

However, opponents fear the same about Prop 30, saying there are no guarantees the money will reach these classrooms.
"I am convinced both measures have security around them to make sure the taxpayers money sacrificed would go to education," said Torlakson.

Both measures could ultimately fail if they don't get enough votes. If they both pass, then the measure with the highest number of votes would become law.

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