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Peninsula PTA Reps Rally in South City for Prop 38

Thursday evening parents and PTA leaders held a rally for a state income tax proposition that would fund schools.

Thursday evening northern San Mateo County Parent Teachers Association leaders held a rally at Orange Memorial Park in South San Francisco to show support for California Proposition 38, which will appear on November's ballot.

PTA members from across San Mateo County, including from South City, Pacifica, Daly City and San Bruno participated in the event.

"I am absolutely dismayed by how often parents are asked to consider budget cuts," California State PTA president elect, Colleen You from Belmont said at the rally. She said she was apalled at how many programs have been removed in California schools due to budget cuts, including arts and even access to library books in some schools.

Proposition 38 is backed by Pasadena civil rights attorney Molly Munger. California's Legislative Analyst's Office explains it as such: "This measure raises personal income taxes on most California taxpayers from 2013 through 2024. The revenues raised by this tax increase would be spent on public schools, child care and preschool programs, and state debt payments."

Other speakers at the event noted increased class sizes, English language learner needs, Transitional Kindergarten, school closures, and technical education as items affected by budget cuts in recent years. 

Marta Bookbinder, head of South San Francisco's PTA Council also spoke at the rally.

She said she supports 38, but also said "I'm torn between 30 and 38," referring to another proposition that directly opposes 38. Bookbinder told Patch that the reason she ultimately supports the Molly Munger proposition is because it "puts parents at the table with the checkbook and develops the parent as an informed decision-maker."

Proponents of 30 criticize 38 for taxing all individuals and families, while 30 would only tax those with large incomes because they have more resources to help fund schools. 

The South San Francisco Unified School District Board of Trustees recently passed a resolution to support Proposition 30.

"If [Prop 30] doesn't pass, education in California is going to get chopped off at the knees," said the board's vice president, Phil Weise. "We might have to reduce the school year by 20 days. That's one of the most punitive pieces of cuts that I've ever seen."

Weise said that "any other year," he would be out there rallying to support 38, but its direct opposition to 30 means that he's against it.

"Proposition 38 doesn't give money to schools, but to classrooms" Weise said. "Yeah, teachers will have more pencils and crayons in their classrooms [if 38 passes], but classrooms will be closed for 20 days out of the school year."

If both propositions pass, then whichever receives more votes will be implemented.

At a South San Francisco school board meeting later Thursday evening, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Patricia Ernsberger said that if 30 does not pass, South City will see $4.1 million cut from this year's budget. She said that if 38 passes, those cuts will occur, but additional revenue generated from the new tax will go directly to school sites.

Nattie Fong of the Jefferson Council PTA, former Jefferson Council PTA president Julio Suncin, San Bruno Council PTA member Suzanne Correa, Jefferson High School PTA President Carmen Yu, Jefferson High School student Christopher Yu and El Crystal parent Joe Capote also spoke at the rally to support Prop 38.

Only a handful of observers attended; organizers expected a slightly higher turnout, but said the cold weather may have deterred some people.

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