SFUSD keeps fingers crossed for Prop. 30, Prop. 38 cash

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerIf Prop. 30 passes SFUSD will be able to operate without additional cuts

The San Francisco Unified School District has a lot riding on Tuesday’s election.

The district, along with every other education body in the state, will be closely watching how two tax increase measures fare. If they pass, the SFUSD can operate as usual without having to make additional cuts. But if propositions 30 and 38 fail, the district will face drastic budget reductions.

The school district will have to cut an additional $23 million from its budget, through furlough days and hiring and pay freezes.

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“It’s always been our goal to keep cuts away from the classroom,” SFUSD Superintendent Richard Carranza said.

“But when you’re laying off teachers, not providing books or professional development, that affects the classroom.”

Prop. 30, which is backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would increase income taxes for seven years for those making more than $250,000 annually, and it would raise the sales tax by one-quarter percent for four years. Millionaire Molly Munger’s Prop. 38 would increase income taxes for 12 years. Both measures would provide millions of dollars for schools, higher education and public safety.

But without the support of the majority of voters, cuts will be necessary.

Rachel Norton, vice president of the San Francisco Board of Education, called the potential cuts devastating.

“I feel like it’s a cliche to say that, but every cut has been devastating and this is more of the same,” she said.

“We’re taking five days this spring semester and trying to find other midyear cuts, and then we’ll have to look at the 2013-14 budget.”

Despite the budget cut threats, Field Poll results released Thursday showed voter support for Prop. 30 at 48 percent, with 38 percent opposing the measure and 14 percent undecided. Prop. 38 also trails, with only 34 percent in favor and 49 percent against it, the poll showed. Both need a majority of votes to pass.

Norton said the numbers are not encouraging, but she hopes in the final days the propositions will gain the necessary votes to pass.

“I’m at a loss at how to tell our story,” she said. “I don’t know what else we can do or say to convey how desperate these times are.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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