PUSD board backs two competing education funding bills
Grant: 'If either one passes, public education wins'
The Pleasanton School Board decided Tuesday night to hedge its bets and back both competing education spending plans up for a vote in November.
Board members saw merits in each of the two propositions, Prop 30, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, and Prop 38, which was proposed by Molly Munger.
Prop 38, also known as "Our Children, Our Future," would also allow schools -- not Sacramento -- to decide where money should be spent. It would provide more money to school districts across the state, but that money wouldn't arrive until the 2013-14 school year.
Before that, automatic triggers cutting school funding would kick in, although those triggers would not be pulled if Brown's plan, Prop 30, passes. Brown's state budget was built on the premise that his tax increase would pass. His plan, if passed, would maintain flat funding to districts, although Luz Cazares, assistant superintendent of business services, has said "flat" funding would actually mean a loss of money to the district.
In the discussion Tuesday night, Board President Joan Laursen acknowledged that "neither of them is perfect."
"At the end of the day, those (trigger) cuts will be enacted, so Prop 30 not happening is bad for us," Laursen said. "That being said, new money is better than flat funding."
She said she'd recently seen Munger speak, and noted that Munger herself said she'd vote Yes on both propositions.
"Prop 30 is her insurance," Laursen said.
The board -- with the exception of Jamie Hintzke -- agreed the district should support both propositions. Hintzke backed Prop 38.
"Having local decisions made about funding is important. We get a lot of local control," Hintzke said. Regarding Prop 30, she said, "What makes me nervous about it, every year, it's subject to political manipulation."
Other board members expressed some misgivings about backing both propositions.
"In the beginning, I was a little leery of voting for both (but) we need to have one of them pass," said Board Member Valerie Arkin.
Board Member Chris Grant worried that the option of voting for two different funding plans would baffle people.
"My biggest concern is confusion," Grant said. "The bottom line is, if either one passes, public education wins."
He said polls currently show a 50-50 chance of either one winning.
If both bills get a vote of more than the 50% needed to pass, the one with more votes would take effect and the other would be declared void.