Community and Government Relations Report

As the state and nation continue to dig out from the great recession, struggles regarding education funding remain front and center.

State News

In an attempt to provide much-needed funds to the state, two statewide ballot measures will go before the voters on November 6.

Education Funding Propositions on the Ballot

Proposition 30, championed by Governor Jerry Brown, would raise sales tax by ¼ percent and would raise the tax rate on those who earn more than $250,000. While it is believed that this measure will raise about $6 billion from 2012-13 through  2016-17, it does not actually generate new funding for education. Instead, the measure is designed to shield against further budget cuts. Should the measure not pass, automatic trigger cuts built into the last state budget will take effect and cut $6 billion from state funding. Most of the cuts are expected to come from education, including Cal Grants, and public safety.  

The second measure is Proposition 38, a competing measure designed to raise funds just for K-12 education, not for higher education. Proposed by education advocate Molly Munger, this measure will raise the personal income tax rate for all but the lowest tax bracket. The California constitution states that if two substantially similar measures are passed by the voters, the one with the highest vote will take effect. So if both measures pass, the one with the highest vote total will become law. For more information on these, and all statewide measures, please visit the California Secretary of State’s website

Scholarship Legislation Defeated

The 2011-12 legislative session closed on August 31 after much talk about education reform. Most notable was Assembly Speaker John Perez’s middle-class scholarship legislation. AB 1501, better known as the Middle Class Scholarship Act, was designed to benefit students whose families earn less than $150,000. Under the measure, student fees at CSU and UC campuses would be lowered by two-thirds, and $150 million would be directed toward relief for community college students. A companion measure, AB 1500, would fund the legislation by closing tax loopholes for out-of-state corporations. Because the measure was aimed at California public institutions, it would have had no direct impact on independent colleges, such as Saint Mary’s. Both bills died on the final night of the session. However, passage of the package was one of Speaker Perez’s top legislative priorities, so we can expect to see a similar measure introduced in the next legislative session in 2013.

Local News

Moraga, like many California municipalities, will be holding elections for its town council this fall. Three council seats are up for election. Councilmember Howard Harpham chose not to seek another term, while incumbents Mike Metcalf and Karen Mendonca are running for new four-year terms. Three other residents are seeking council terms: Seth Freeman, a 1993 SMC extended education graduate, Roger Wykle, and Phil Arth. To learn more about these candidates, visit their websites:

Phil Arth

Seth Freeman

Karen Mendonca

Mike Metcalf

Roger Wykle

You may also learn more at a candidates' forum on Thursday, October 4. I am honored to moderate this exchange of ideas between these citizens. Moraga Candidates Night will be held at the Holy Trinity Serbian Church, 1700 School Street.

Voter Registration Drive Continues

CILSA and the League of Woman Voters have been conducting an aggressive voter registration drive on campus. To ensure that student voices are heard this November, they will continue to register voters until the October 22 deadline. Voter registration tables will be set up in front of the CILSA office, so take advantage of this opportunity to register to vote.

Tim Farley
Director of Community and Government Relations