SAN FRANCISCO — Community leaders convened Oct. 2 to ask the community to vote for California Proposition 30 and San Francisco Measure A, urging voters to approve both of these measures in the Nov. 6 general election to continue funding public education in California and San Francisco.
“California must do better to protect the public services our community cares about,” stated Vincent Pan, executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. “Public education, especially, has been the target of excessive cuts. Investing in public education is necessary to advance our children’s future. Voters will have the opportunity to take action to stop tuition and fee increases, more teacher layoffs, and growing classroom sizes.”
Ling-chi Wang, a long-time educator at UC Berkeley and co-chair of Friends of Educational Opportunities in Chinatown, stated: “Proposition 30 and Measure A will ensure that our K-12 and public colleges and universities have stable funds so they can provide quality public education without further disruption.”
Proposition 30 will fund K-12 and public universities and colleges by increasing the personal income tax of wealthy Californians. Individuals earning over $250,000 per year will be taxed at a higher rate for the next seven years. Prop. 30 will also increase the sales tax by one-fourth of one cent for the next four years.
If approved, Prop. 30’s new funding could go to schools starting this year to rehire teachers, buy textbooks, and create smaller class sizes. It is also the only measure that can stop $6 billion in cuts faced by schools and colleges.
Proposition A will help City College of San Francisco save vital classes and programs by raising a local $79 parcel tax under local oversight and control.
Over the past three years, state budget cuts have reduced funding to CCSF by more than $53 million. As a result, just this year alone the college has already cut 700 classes.
He Bai is a current CCSF student. He’s learning English and earning his general course credits to prepare him for transferring to a four-year college. He said he’s attending the college because it’s the only school in San Francisco that is affordable and convenient for new immigrant students like him: “I immigrated to San Francisco five months ago with my family. They want me to get a good education so I can improve myself and help my family. City College has been a beacon for my education. If it were to close because of budget cuts, my goal of attending a four-year university would be cut as well.”
Un Un Che, a parent with three daughters in the San Francisco Unified School District, has seen what state budget cuts have done to her daughter’s schools.
“My oldest daughter went to school when the teacher-student ratio was around 1 to 10. Now, with the budget cuts, we have fewer teachers for all the students, and that means my two younger daughters don’t have the same quality education as my first daughter,” she said. “We need to invest in our K-12 schools through Proposition 30.”
Che also supports Measure A. When she first immigrated to the U.S., she took ESL classes at CCSF. “Many of my friends and relatives also took English classes at City College, as well as job training classes that have helped them with their careers.”
Alex Tom, executive director of Chinese Progressive Association, pointed out that CCSF is the largest provider of job training and placement and English-as-a-second-language courses in the city. Its model of partnership with San Francisco’s restaurant and hospitality industries has also helped many immigrants obtain essential job skills.
“For working-class immigrants, this means being able to take job training classes and English courses to lift themselves out of poverty,” he stated.