Propositions 1A, 8, 9 and 10 important to schools
On November 3, California voters will get a chance to help shape the future of their schools, the quality of their education and the safety of their children. Tuesday night, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Education discussed how the three propositions on the ballot will directly affect the district.
Proposition 1A is a bond measure which would provide $9.2 billion over four years for new construction and repairs of public elementary schools, high schools, community colleges and universities. From that amount, $6.7 billion would target kindergarten through high school and $2.5 billion would be invested in higher education.
“The $6.7 billion will really affect us. If the proposition passes, these funds could help build the Alternative Education Center at the high school and the new science wing at the middle school,” said Superintendent Rich Alexander.
In order to receive funds from Proposition 1A, school districts need to prove that they can, and will, match 50 percent of new construction costs and pay 20 percent of school repair costs.
Penned by Gov. Pete Wilson, Proposition 8 is officially called the “Permanent Class Size Reduction and Educational Opportunities Act of 1998.”
The banner issue is permanent class size reduction for kindergarten through third grade.
The proposition also requires the creation of parent/teacher governing councils, which Alexander said, are the same as the newly established school site councils at each of California’s 8,000 schools. The councils would have the final say, above and beyond the school board, on curricula and determining how school funds are spent.
The measure would also establish an Office of the Chief Inspector, a new and independent agency that would evaluate school performance (test scores, college admission rates, dropout rates) and rank schools according to the quality of their education. The chief inspector, selected by the governor, would serve a 10-year term and could only be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature.
“It’s unclear who the support staff for this office would be, but it’s very clear that it would be completely independent of the school board,” Alexander said.
The proposition also requires the expulsion of students possessing illegal drugs in school, with the exception of less than an ounce of marijuana.
And finally, the initiative would also require that all teachers pass specific subject tests.
“If, as the measure proposes, each school pursues its own direction in curriculum and expenditures,” Alexander said, “it could dramatically alter, and complicate the overall district academic performance. The state just recently established the same standards for everyone, but this proposition seems to be advocating that each school determine their own course.”
Proposition 10, also known as the “California Children and Families Initiative” would tax tobacco products to aid early child development programs. By imposing a 50-cent surcharge on cigarettes and a $1 tax on other tobacco products, the initiative aims to raise $750 million in its first full year of implementation.
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