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

Prop 30 passed - so now where's the money?

Gov. Jerry Brown

Sharon McNary/KPCC

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks in support of Prop. 30 at a rally of UCLA students on campus, Oct. 16, 2012

California’s voters avoided massive cuts to public education that would have gone into effect in January by approving Proposition 30, Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure. Now the question is: when will the money show up?

The short answer is the income tax revenue on anyone who earns more than a $250 thousand dollars a year, plus the additional quarter-cent sales tax, will have a ripple effect on the different systems of public education.

For K-12 schools, not much may change in the short term because most districts assembled their budgets assuming that Prop 30 would pass.

But State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said the ability to maintain the status quo will stem “the chaos of waves of pink slips, of disruption, just demoralization of the teaching work force.” 

A billion dollars in state funding would have disappeared from the budget as early of December, he said.

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

Tax Preparers Help Last-Minute Filers As Tax Deadline Looms

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

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

Mercer 20609

Scott Woods-Fehr/Flickr

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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