By: Guest Blogger Miriam E. Marks

The state budget crisis has put an enormous strain on public education. In 2011, CA colleges saw average tuition for in-state students increase 98.3 percent from five years before. Financial burdens worsen general poor education trends – California is nearly last in statewide rankings of per-pupil spending and the number of counselors per student, while also boasting the highest student to teacher ratio in the country.

With further cuts potentially on the horizon, state officials have put the hardest financial questions directly to Californians: how can our state generate more revenue?

Voters will answer these questions with Propositions 30 and 38 on the November 6th ballot. Proposition 30 – backed by Governor Jerry Brown – would increase the state sales tax and also raise income taxes on the wealthiest Californians for estimated revenue of $6 billion a year. Proposition 38, whose chief advocate is attorney Molly Munger, would raise income taxes progressively on all Californians to bring in $10-11 billion a year.

Vote yes on Props 30 and 38 to save California public schools

This election, voters hold the fate of California schools and colleges in their hands.

The propositions differ slightly in the ways they allot funds to education. For example, Prop 38 sets a minimum spending level for childcare and preschool. Prop 30 includes a constitutional amendment to provide counties with additional funding for public safety, health care, and social programs.

The Main Difference Between Prop 30 and Prop 38?

The main difference is this: if Prop 30 fails, it will set off a series of $5.5 billion “trigger cuts” across various social programs that are constitutionally required for the balanced state budget. The failure of Prop 38 would not come with automatic budget cuts, more than half of its projected revenue would still have to address the persistent budget shortfall.

But the fact remains that both Props 30 and 38 balance the budget without implementing cuts to education. On November 6th, you will be able to vote either “Yes” or “No” on Props 30 and 38.

If Both Props Pass, the One With The Most Votes Gets Adopted. So Vote Yes on Both.

If both propositions pass, the one with the most votes will be adopted. If both fail, CA schools will lose billions of dollars.

It’s time to choose the worse of two evils. The two evils, however, are not Props 30 and 38; they are funding for schools on the one hand and the looming specter of $5.5 billion in predetermined cuts to education on the other. Whether you prefer Prop 30 to Prop 38 or vice versa, ask yourself whether you prefer school funding to school budget cuts.

And so, if Props 30 and 38 sound equally palatable to you, the answer is simple: vote for both. If you don’t want to risk the future of CA schools, vote for Prop 30 and Prop 38. You will decide the future of the CA educational system on November 6th. Let’s make sure that future is bright.

Please remember to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6. You can look up your polling place here, and if you haven’t registered to vote, you can simply do it online here until October 22.