Are we truly our brothers and sisters keepers? Or, does self-interest trump what is best for the common good? These questions will need to be answered in the Nov. 6 election. The way I see it, a “yes” vote on Proposition 30 and Measure D, the increase of minimum wage in San Jose to $10 per hour, will be for the best interest of all our citizens.
The passage of Proposition 30, a sales tax increase for emergency funding for public schools and public safety, would be a tourniquet to stop the “bleeding” revenue loss to our society’s most important tasks. We can’t stand idle and watch as millions of California’s children (6,000,000+) in K-16 struggle to get the education they deserve. The cuts in funding have been threatening the future of this state for the last five years.
The devastating cuts to California schools that have taken place during this past half-decade total over $20 billion. The disinvestment in education has caused the elimination of over 40,000 public school jobs. These reductions have led to providing fewer services to our most precious natural resource, our children.
By voting “Yes” on Proposition 30 on Nov. 6, we will give the schools and our children the life jackets they need in order to stay afloat. However, this new funding is temporary only for the next 4-7 years. It will not be enough to help all the children. Yet it will give them all time to continue to tread water while the state’s elected leaders work to find ways to fund schools and public safety adequately.
We have been watching the state’s engine of economic prosperity—the CA public school system and public safety—collapse in slow motion for far too long. We cannot stand by and watch California’s future drown as we hit bottom. Yes, I mean the bottom literally, not figuratively. California is last out of all 50 states in class size (teacher ratio to students), 47th in per pupil funding, and dead last in the nation of students per school counselors and librarians.
As Hillary Clinton said at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, “We don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare. Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hangs in the balance.” So, in this upcoming election we must look out for our sisters and brothers. As Mathew said in the Bible “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me”.
I urge you today to vote “yes” on Proposition 30 and San Jose’s Measure D. Our future hangs in the balance. Are you fired up and ready to go?
Joseph DiSalvo is the president of the Santa Clara County Board of Education. He was born and raised in San Jose.