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Parents Call to La Verne for Support of Prop. 30 Fails

A proposal for local support of Proposition 30 stalled and appears to have died during Monday’s La Verne City Council meeting.

A proposal for local support of Proposition 30 stalled and appears to have died during Monday’s La Verne City Council meeting, as a call for a motion on the proposal was met with silence.

Grace Miller Elementary School PTA’s president Juan Vasquez and PTA member Matthew Lyons appealed to council members during the Oct. 1 meeting for the support and the issue was placed on the Oct. 15 agenda.

After a report from City Manager Bob Russi, and further appeals from Vasquez and Lyons, no one spoke up to a call for a motion by Mayor Don Kendrick.

“OK, we are not going to have a vote tonight,” Kendrick said after a 10 second silence.

At the heart of the council’s hesitance was a resolution adopted by La Verne in 2003 - but followed unofficially since 1988 – that states the council should not take action on issues outside their jurisdiction.

Any issues that to do not directly benefit or affect local interests are to be left to the apropriate country, state or federal agency, according to a staff report.

Before the call for a vote, Vasquez told council members he understood the position they were in. This is a state measure on an issue of education, but it has a large effect on the families living in their communities, he said.

“The thing that makes me comfortable with (supporting) this one is that it is supported by the Bonita Unified School District,” Vasquez told the council.

“I will take my cue from Dr. Rapkin and what he has deemed will actually benefit the children of the city,” he said in reference to Dr. Gary Rapkin, PhD, Bonita Unified School District Superintendent, who supports the measure.

The proposition increases taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and sales taxes by a fourth of a cent for four years, to fund schools, according to the state sample ballot. It guarantees public safety realignment funding. If passed, the measure would raise $6 billion annually in tax revenues through 2018–19, according to the guide. It would also prevent more funding to the cuts to education that are set to hit this year if it’s not passed, educators said.

This means not supporting the proposition could have dire consequences, supporters said.

“From my perspective, a tradition of inaction, on this matter, is completely unacceptable,” Lyons told the council during his public comment. “A comfort zone of inaction is completely unacceptable whether you call it an informal policy or not.”

“It’s very easy to treat Sacramento as this third-party entity. I could blame Republicans. I can blame Democrats,” Lyons said. “But we all share in equal ownership in that function or dysfunction. It ultimately becomes a local issue.”

At the council’s request, Russi ran down some of the city’s other experiences of having sales tax money, along with redevelopment funds, redirected to schools. Millions have gone toward fulfilling the state’s obligation to schools or public safety but more has been needed and taken, Russi said.

Lyons expressed disappointment over the council’s no vote. They had gotten support in San Dimas which is also served by Bonita Unified School District, he said. Four of five council members in that city, including the mayor, voiced support, he said.

Kendrick reminded those in attendance the city always works closely with the district, especially through the Youth and Family Action Committee, a program formed more than 20 years ago.

“Even though Proposition 30 was not passed by a unanimous vote does not mean we’re not supportive of this,” Kendrick said. “Doesn’t mean that at all. It means that the City of La Verne, the City Council, is not going to take a stand on it. That’s what it means. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t support it. We support kids more than you ever will know. I will tell you that I spend numerous hours, and have for decades supporting and helping kids in this district. I would defy anybody to challenge what I have done and what some of the other people on this dais (have done) for kids in this community. So just because we don’t agree with Proposition 30 coming to this body and approving it doesn’t mean that we don’t support it or that we don’t support our kids because we do very, very much.”

Matthew Lyons October 20, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Did you know? At the September 5th School Board Meeting, the Bonita Unified School District Board of Education UNANIMOUSLY approved Resolution 2013-04 IN SUPPORT of Proposition 30, The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act. The resolution states the following: 1) California’s education system is in a crisis due to insufficient funding. 2) Bonita Unified School District has already cut over $13 million in recent years. 3) Numerous California’s K-12 public schools and community colleges will be devastated by another round of budget cuts. 4) The students of the Bonita Unified School District deserve the support of the members of our local community and Californians throughout the state to continue to receive a high quality education. Can you see some value in GREAT schools and GREAT communities? We are confident that the answer is a resounding “YES!” People are attracted to our communities because of our great schools. Would you do us a favor? As parents, we humbly request that our fellow community members place the interests of all of our kids, approximately 10,000 students, first and stand in solidarity with our Board of Education in their unanimous support of Proposition 30 that is on the November 6, 2012 ballot. In solidarity, Juan Vasquez Grace Miller Elementary, PTA President* Matthew Lyons Grace Miller Elementary, Site Council Vice Chair* *School and title information provided for identification purposes only.
Matthew Lyons October 22, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Misinformed voters often vote against their own self-interests, which is sad. Voting against the interests of our kids and their education, opportunties, and future is unacceptable. We must not be the generations that have failed to be good stewards to future generations. EdSource is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1977 to engage Californians on key education challenges, with the goal of promoting education success. Get informed and check out: http://www.edsource.org/assets/images/misc/graphic/edsource-californiaschoolinitiatives-10-15cs4.pdf Support Prop 30!
Darla Dyson October 23, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I applaud the community members who sought support for their children's schools from their community leaders. It's unfortunate the current elected officials of La Verne do not have the courage to SPEAK UP for the CHILDREN and SCHOOLS in their own community. I hope that one day soon there will be some new leaders in La Verne elected who aren't afraid to stand up for kids and our future!
Matthew Lyons October 24, 2012 at 06:28 AM
BREAKING NEWS: At the council meeting tonight, Claremont City Council passes a resolution IN SUPPORT of Proposition 30 AND stands in solidarity with it's school district and educators. I applaud their collective action. The City of La Verne needs to revisit it's best practices. To stand collectively paralized and silent when we need voices and actions in support of our kids is unacceptable. The lack of a voice and representation for young families in La Verne with the current make up of the council needs to change.
Matthew Lyons November 02, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Shared with permission from Mark Rocha, Superintendent-President, Pasadena City College: "The Governor's approved FY2012-2013 budget contains a "trigger cut" of $6.7 million to Pasadena City College if Prop 30 does not pass. Since we cannot count on revenue we do not have in our budget, we were forced to take this $6.7 million cut in the college's adopted annual budget. This means that the state funding cut forced the cancellation 577 class sections for this year. This represents a cut over 11%, equivalent to eliminating access to over 2,000 full time students. Those 2,000 students are our sons and daughters and live on the street that you live. This is not only a tragedy for the young people and returning adult learners who to whom access to education has been blocked, it is an economic tragedy for the state because, as former Chancellor Jack Scott often said, a dollar of investment in community colleges return more than double that in benefit to the state economy. So if Prop 30 does not pass, it will lock in the state funding cuts and end the hope for a better life for thousands."

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