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Why Republicans support the tax initiative E FACTS when Californians do not public education. Largest economy in the world In per-pupil funding In student to teacher ratio, in K-12 schools In student to counselor and nurse ratios In student to teacher ratio, in high schools SIXTH-GRADE TEACHER Dale Kennedy is a dyed-in-the-wool, no-tax Republican who feels strong enough about his convictions that he is an activ- ist in the Republican Party. Yet Kennedy, a member of the Kings Canyon Education Association, spent several weeks this spring collecting sig- natures to place the governor's tax initia- tive on the November ballot, an action that might seem anathema to other members of his political party. Kennedy doesn't see it that way. The 25-year veteran educator from Reedley, a city in Fresno County, has seen the erosion of public edu- cation in California and is doing something about it. "I believe we can raise tiative that will temporarily increase income taxes on high-wage earners while adding a quarter-cent increase to the state sales tax. The measure is expected to generate about $9 billion a year. And if the initiative fails, public education faces an additional $6 billion in budget cuts next year, forcing many districts to consider cutting the school year by 15 more days. Kennedy, who sits on the Financing Public Education Committee of State Council, would like to see a new model of funding public education developed in California, but until that happens, he's supporting the governor's tax initiative. While sports programs revenues by cutting taxes. However, that's a long-term goal," Kennedy says. "Right now we're bleeding at the jugular. That's why I col- lected signatures and tried to target Republicans and teachers. We have to put a tourniquet on to stop the bleeding." Stopping the bleeding is a graphic metaphor for what's happened to educa- tion in California. Educators are more than familiar with the story. In the past four years, public edu- Dale Kennedy cuts in neighboring districts where teachers have already been required to take furlough days. "Someone who is unemployed might have been cut and facilities have been neglected in Kings Canyon Unified School Dis- trict where he teaches, Kennedy notes there have been even more dramatic Students in America are educated in California Corporations outspend unions by this ratio cation has been cut by more than $20 billion. Class sizes have soared at all grade levels. More than 40,000 educa- tors have been laid off. Art, music, vocational education and after-school programs have been eliminated. School libraries have been closed. Tuition has increased more than 300 percent at state colleges and universities, pricing many students out of getting a higher education degree. Community college courses have been slashed, and class- rooms are overcrowded. That's why CTA was an early sup- porter of the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, an ini- not be sympathetic with teachers who lose five days, but I'm concerned about the students. And next year the number of furlough days may be increased to 15 days," he says. "When I was in school, there were just 165 days a year. But what I did in eighth grade they're doing now in fifth grade. They've compressed what we're expected to do with the kids. All the time in class is precious if we are going to be competitive." Vicki Soderberg, president of Cap- istrano Unified Education Association, is another Republican supporting the tax initiative. Despite the tremendous support of Capistrano schools from parents and the community, Soderberg says, the impact of budget cuts has been dramatic in her district. Salaries have decreased in the district and teachers June/July 2012 25

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