Prop. 38 prioritizes K-12 funding but leaves higher education behind

College students need to be wary of where they place their vote for education this November, with competing propositions that could result in both a higher income tax and a $150 increase in tuition on the line.

California’s Proposition 38 would give the state billions of dollars to put into its struggling K-12 education system, but would hang funding for higher education out to dry. If passed, Prop. 38 would trigger a $250 million cut to the California State University system.

Dubbed “Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act,” the measure aims to raise personal income taxes on a sliding scale for people making more than $7,316 a year. The tax initiative will occur over the next 12 years to lessen California’s debt and give funds to preschool and K-12 programs, according to an official summary of the proposition prepared by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.

“I feel that Prop. 38 is not the best option for higher education, because Prop. 30 will fund all the way through a child’s education,” Wei Ming Dariotis, chapter president of the California Faculty Association at SF State, said. “(The funding from Prop. 30) makes college more accessible. I don’t want a world where college is only for the rich.”

The CFA, a union of CSU faculty and staff, is in favor of Prop. 30, which aims to fund higher education in addition to K-12 and is in direct competition with Prop. 38. If both propositions pass, whichever one receives more “yes” votes will go into effect.

Abbie Navas, an SF resident who gave birth to a boy three months ago, believes that Prop. 38 will give her child a better future.

“Passing (Prop.) 38 now would give my kid a better education system to go into,” Navas, a supporter of the proposition, said. “It would give my kid the chance to get the education he deserves.”

According to the official summary of the proposition, during the first four years, an estimated $6 billion would go toward K-12 schools, $1 billion toward early childhood programs and $3 billion to pay off California’s debt and savings.

The bill would break down the money during the first four years by providing 60 percent of the revenue from tax increases going to K-12 schools, 30 percent to repay state debt and 10 percent to early childhood programs. After the first four years, 85 percent of the revenue will go toward K-12 schools and 15 percent to early childhood programs.

If the proposition is passed with more “yes” votes than Prop. 30, spending reductions — also known as trigger cuts — would go into effect for higher education institutions.

According to Franz Lozano, budget officer at SF State’s budget administrations office, there is a $250 million trigger cut planned for the CSU system in the case that Prop. 30 does not go into effect. SF State’s share of the cut is estimated to be $17.4 million.

“We’ve been suffering through budget cuts for over four years,” Laura Bingham, SF State senior, said. “Any increase in tuition discourages people from going to school and taking the necessary steps to make a living for themselves.”