Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) at Topanga Elementary Charter School on Jan 20.
It was a casual coffee and cookies Meet and Greet as Sen. Fran Pavley visited with parents at Topanga Elementary on Friday, January 20.
About 50 parents (some with toddlers) gathered in Room 14 to hear her outline Gov. Jerry Browns November ballot initiative for education.
According to Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), in order to bypass Sacramentos partisan gridlock, Brown has called for a ballot initiative to raise taxes for five years to directly fund schools.
He proposes increasing income taxes one to two percent for individuals making $250,000 or more, couples making $500,000 or more, in addition to a sales-tax hike. He hopes to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.
According to estimates, the increased revenue up to $6.8 billion per year for four years would be used to fund public schools and guarantee money for counties to house more inmates in local jails instead of in state prisons.
Given the cutbacks to education in recent years, it is imperative that California devote more tax dollars to this most basic of public services, Brown said in his State of the State address on January 18. If we are successful in passing the temporary taxes ... and the economy continues to expand, schools will be in a much stronger position.
Pavley came to Topanga Elementary to pitch the initiative directly to the parents and ask for support.
There has been a significant drop in funding; we get 50 percent of the total money but that has dropped by $30 billion to $87 billion, she said. [Schools] are now getting 50 percent of a lot less.
Pavley mentioned that there needed to be enough signatures to put the tax initiative on the November ballot.
School funding is still based on the model from the 40s, 50s and 60s from sales, property and personal income taxes, she said. After Proposition 13 (1978), the model doesnt work anymore.
We are all behind supporting schools, said a mother of a third grader. We have no interest in increasing the corporate tax rate.
Pavley said that regardless of the source of funding, by law California must cover health care and public safety.
Its been a challenge as the total amount of money is less and less, she said. I spent one month in China to get a global perspective; other countries invest more in education.
Earlier, Pavley greeted the children at morning assembly and said that she had taught eighth grade for 28 years.
She also introduced her District Director, Rebekah Rodriguez-Lynn, who has adopted Topanga Elementary School.
Rebekah will be my eyes and ears in Topanga, she said.
Pavley said that working in Sacramento was difficult, given the requirement of passing any tax increases with a two-thirds vote in the Republican controlled Legislature.
She remained upbeat about the economy and the prospect of recovery, allowing them to hold the line on tuition at the Cal State and UC Universities.
Pavley also advocated for school districts to have more flexible spending on funding special education and ESL.
The recession is ending; Im not going to sacrifice an entire generation while we get back to where we were, she said.
Ken Mazur and his wife, Susan Clark (of Topanga Animal Rescue), have a fourth grader at Topanga. They liked what they heard and agreed that schools need more funding. Weve already lost two weeks out of the year, Clark said.
An estimated 938,000 people live within Pavleys 23rd Senate District, which includes portions of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
To contact Sen. Pavley regarding legislation, official state- or district-related business, please visit http://sd23.senate.ca.gov/.