So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Prop. 30 has passed, but how do you pay retroactive taxes?

Tax Preparers Help Last-Minute Filers As Tax Deadline Looms

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Prop. 30 has passed, and if you make more than $250,000 your income tax will go up - we explain how that's paid. Sales tax will also rise in January.

Now that Prop. 30 has passed, here are some nuts and bolts you need to know about how your income taxes may change this year.

Prop. 30 will increase personal income tax for seven years on Californians earning more than $250,000. It will be implemented retroactively, starting Jan. 1, 2012. Those earning between $250,000 and $300,000 will pay 1 percent more. People making between $300,000 and $500,000 will pay 2 percent more, and people making more than $500,000 will pay 3 percent more in taxes.

But how do you pay retroactive taxes?

I spoke with Jay Chamberlain, chief of financial research at the California Department of Finance. He said that taxpayers, and particularly high-income earners, pay four estimated payments for each tax year. The next estimated payment is due on Jan. 15 for the 2012 tax year.

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Cal State students in line for tuition refunds after Prop. 30 passes

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Cal State students woke up Wednesday to news that they'd get refunds on their fees because voters approved Prop. 30 at the polls.

Instead of tuition hikes, Cal State University students woke up to news that they'd receive refunds on their fees because voters approved Prop. 30 at the polls Tuesday, the California State Student Association said in a statement.

Prop. 30 passed with 54 percent of the vote. If it had not, the Cal State system would have been hit with a $250 million trigger cut and students would have experienced a $300 per year tuition increase, the loss of 5,500 course sections and limited fall 2013 enrollment, the student group said. 

Instead, Cal State students will receive an "immediate tuition refund of $249" to maintain tuition at $5,472 a year, the student association said.

The California State Student Association - CSSA - amped up voter registration efforts this summer. It registered 31,372 new student voters on 23 campuses for this election. The organization also sponsored rallies, information sessions and debates.

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Voters approve Prop 30; educators relieved

Grand Park Election Night - 5

Grant Slater/KPCC

Anna, left, dresses patriotically during the election night party at Grand Park. The event was put on by the Music Center, and went until 10 p.m.

My Inbox was full of statements from various educators Wednesday morning thanking voters for passing Prop. 30 with a 54 percent "yes" vote.

For details on what this means for schools and taxes, you can check out the sum-up of the Prop. 30 results I compiled in the wee hours Wednesday morning. The details on how California voted, especially geographically, remain the same. L.A. County appears to have greatly tipped the scales in favor of Prop. 30, with 60 percent voting in favor of the tax increase.

L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy put out a statement at about 6:30 a.m. saying he's "tremendously grateful" to voters for "making the difficult decision to support Prop. 30."

"It is apparent that the voters are aware of the devastating cuts schools districts have taken the past 5 years. They have said enough is enough. These funds, from Proposition 30, will better equip us to provide a quality education to all LAUSD youth over the next several years and begin the road back to fiscal recovery. We look forward in the next several years to begin to restore some of the programs and valued employees, which were previously cut by the devastating fiscal situation in California.

At the same time, I speak for all employees of LAUSD when I say we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that every student graduates college and career ready. And I also thank all employees and youth who worked so hard to support Proposition 30, and acknowledge the very tough times we have been through as one family, and now see a bridge forward to a more stable financial future that honors all your hard work."

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Internet access in every household can foster learning, non-profit asserts

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Schools and libraries may be the only places many students enjoy access to computers and the Internet. One non-profit's grant-funded program will test whether having computers at home can help students at two Los Angeles middle schools can improve their performance in math.

Playing academic video games or doing homework online might be typical in middle and upper income households. But  many kids still don't have computer or internet access at home. One New York-based non-profit, CFY, maintains that increasing access to technology is the way to close the achievement gap and increase scores in what it calls "high-poverty schools."

CFY, with $7 million in donations from the big-players in education philanthropy, like the Gates Foundation, has already developed an online free curriculum called Powermylearning.com. Now CFY has received a $1 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation to take its methods into two South Los Angeles middle schools to test whether this tech-intensive approach can improve students' math scores. The two middle schools in the LA Unified School District are part of the Dr. Julian Nava Learning Academies. Two New York City public schools will also benefit from the grant.

The non-profit targets schools where over 75% of the students receive free lunch. It offers those students and their families free computers with internet access, plus a 24-7 bilingual help desk. The organization says its approachto instruction is already improving student achievement and engagement in schools across the country.

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Prop. 30: OC schools struggle amid anti-tax fervor

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Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Public school educators from north Orange County protest to preserve education funding in front of the Fullerton offices of Republican state Assemblyman Chris Norby. Orange County, home to a strong anti-tax contingent, will also have its schools face millions in cuts should Prop. 30 not pass Tuesday.

During the last few months, California school districts have scrambled to prepare budgets and contingency plans for Prop. 30 — in some cases, walking a tightrope between advocacy and education.

But school officials in Orange County have been trying to balance the case for their survival with the fact that their conservative constituents are often ideologically opposed to tax hikes that would stave off more cuts.

This difficult balance is evident at the Capistrano Unified School District, the county's second-largest school district. The district, known locally as "Capo Unified," is located in relatively affluent, majority white, mostly Republican south Orange County. Its student population is 61 percent white and less than 25 percent Hispanic.

The district's students have already lost a week of instruction this year and stand to lose two more weeks if Prop. 30 does not pass. But Capo Unified admnistrators don't talk about that.

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