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November 7, 2012
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Prop. 30 solves some, not all, of the problems facing South Shore schools

While Lake Tahoe Basin school administrators didn't name Nov. 7 an official holiday, there was still plenty of celebration surrounding the passage of Proposition 30.

"Today is like Christmas. We're doing a dance. The morale - what a turn-around. It's like having an 800 pound gorilla taken off your back," Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent James Tarwater said on Wednesday morning.

California voters narrowly approved Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative by 53.3 percent early Wednesday morning, casting 4,142,442 votes in its favor. Roughly 47 percent of voters opposed the measure that raises sales tax, income tax for the wealthy and prevents drastic cuts in the education system.

"It feels good. No one wants the Draconian cuts that would have occurred. It makes me excited to think that people still place education as a priority," Tarwater said.

If the amendment failed, LTUSD could have lost 12 days of school and $1.6 million in state funding while Lake Tahoe Community College would have faced a 7.3 percent course load reduction, said Larry Green, a LTUSD school board member and math teacher at the community college.

LTUSD can now start compiling the 2013-14 calendar and planning on more consistency when it comes to education funding, Tarwater said.

LTCC President Kindred Murillo said she's glad Proposition 30 passed, but there are still other challenges facing California's education system.

"I was very happy, very excited. It takes one of the challenges we have off the table," Murillo said Wednesday.

Murillo said she doesn't anticipate that the college will add courses during the current fiscal year. Rather, LTCC administrators are analyzing the curriculum and preparing for new guidelines that will go into effect next year. At that time, the college might bring back or add programs, she said.

According to California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris, community colleges statewide will receive $210 million in additional funding this year. That money will allow the schools to serve an additional 20,000 students, Harris wrote in a press release.

"The added support will help stabilize our funding in the near term. Although this measure does not return our system to its pre-recession level, it does head the state commitment to our students and colleges in the right direction," Harris wrote.

Though the majority of Californians backed Proposition 30, El Dorado County voters weren't so supportive. About 62 percent of county voters opposed the initiative, while only 37.8 percent approved it. Out of the 71,976 votes cast for the amendment, 44,768 of those said no to the initiative that will raise taxes by $6 billion annually over seven years.

Proposition 38, the competing tax initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot that would have raised income taxes for most Californians and resulted in increased revenues of about $10 billion a year for 12 years, was defeated handily. Approximately 73 percent of voters opposed the measure.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Nov 7, 2012 06:09PM Published Nov 7, 2012 06:08PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.