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Californians pass 3 education propositions

LA School Report | November 9, 2016

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LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 8: Downtown residents cast ballots at the Weingart Center for the Homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

(Credit: Getty Images)

Californians passed three education-related propositions, sending more money to schools and bringing back bilingual education.

Income Tax Extension Benefits K-12 Education:

Proposition 55 extends the income tax rates under Prop. 30 for individuals who earn more than $250,000 a year and couples who earn more than $500,000 a year for 12 years.

It passed easily and is expected to raise between $4 billion and $9 billion a year from 2019 to 2030, with most of the money going to K-12 education. Some money would be set aside for state community colleges and low-income health care programs.

If it didn’t pass, $5.5 billion in state funding of K-12 education programs would have been cut.

California Approves Bond, Taxes to Build, Improve Schools:

Prop. 51 means California will issue $9 billion in bonds to improve the construction of school facilities for K-12 and community colleges. It passed with 53 percent of the vote, the Associated Press reports. Opponents like Gov. Jerry Brown and the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board argued that the proposition is too expensive. Supporters like the state PTA and school districts say buildings desperately need the money for repairs. Californians also voted to continue taxing the wealthy to bring in $4 billion to $9 billion for schools and hospitals. Proposition 55 passed, 62 percent to 37 percent, the Associated Press reports. The taxing was set to expire, but the proposition extends it through 2030. Millionaires pay an extra 3 percent in taxes, while single-filers making at least $263,000 and families making at least $526,000 pay an extra 1 percent.

California Brings Back Bilingual Education: 

Millions of children in California will have greater access to bilingual education after nearly three-quarters of voters said yes to Proposition 58 in early voting, a race called late Tuesday by the Associated Press. Supporters — like the unions and the Democratic Party — hope the proposition will allow local districts to decide how to educate ELL students as well as expose other students to multiple languages. Research shows bilingual education produces similar results to English-only instruction. English language learners make up one in five students in California.

The proposition overturns a 1998 law which required these students to be placed in English-only classes rather than bilingual ones. While some bilingual programs remained, this measure reduced the number of students who were in bilingual classes from 30 percent to 4 percent. Those opposed include the Republican Party and the businessman who originally created the law limiting bilingual education. While the measure arose in part from immigrant resentment, the LA Times reports, it also sprung from a reaction to schools that failed to adequately teach Spanish-speaking students English, putting them behind for college and career readiness.

The 74’s Kate Stringer contributed to this report. Read more on nationwide education races at The 74’s Election Day live blog.

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