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

Colleges relying more on mobile tech for visits by potential students

Mercer 14273

Wesasaurus Rex/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

The UC Irvine Student Union is a regular stop on campus tours. This and other schools want to enhance the experience for prospective students by developing mobile apps to carry along or use from afar.

The season for college scouting visits is upon us. Visit any campus in the next six months and you’ll likely see the college tour guide walking backward, facing high school seniors and their parents, describing an old brick building to the right and another one to the left. The tour’s all about selling the academics, sports, and social life and convincing students to apply.

What seals the deal? Kirk Brennan, USC’s undergraduate admissions director, described it as intangibles that amount to what he called Magic Pixie Dust. He said that’s what fell on his high school-aged daughter during a recent campus visit.

“It was a place she didn’t want to visit," Brennan said. "She didn’t want to stop on our trip and now it’s among her top choices just because of the feeling she got on the campus.” 

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Prop. 30: Fielding questions about income tax

Income Tax Form

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A "Concerned Citizen" wants to know more details on how Prop. 30's retroactive change to income tax affects him. Will he be penalized for inaccurate withholdings?

I've received email from a few people concerned about what Prop. 30 means for them. Here's one that I'll share following Wednesday's post on "Prop. 30 has passed, but how do you pay retroactive taxes?"

Hi Tami,

What about individuals like myself who are high-income W2 wage earners and have their state income taxes withheld via each paycheck? I don’t pay quarterlys! I will have underreported with a possible penalty! Mr. Chamberlain didn’t address that! But my guess is that he will be so gracious and not charge a penalty. What if I don’t have that extra cash sitting around?
 
Concerned Citizen 

***

Jay Chamberlain got in touch with the Franchise Tax Board on this one, to make sure we had the right answer. Indeed, the same waiver without penalty applies to the withholding issue as it does for an estimated payment, Chamberlain said. When there's a law change that affects taxes within the same year, the state can waive the additional money that would go into that estimated payment without a penalty — along with the money that would go toward withholdings, Chamberlain said.

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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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