At times you have to do something simply because it is the right thing to do. The decision before the state Legislature to give voters a chance to consider revenue as part of the state budget solution is just such a decision.
This issue is simply whether to allow California voters to make that decision by placing the issue on the June ballot. It is not a decision to raise or lower taxes. Regardless of how you may feel about taxes, at least allow us a choice. Our schools are hemorrhaging from neglect by the Legislature, so get out of the way and allow the voters to stop the bleeding.
It is the right thing because the stakes are very high. Schools in our county have made cuts totaling almost $50 million over the past two years. Any parent or teacher in our schools can testify what an impact this has had with higher class sizes, less help for struggling students, reduction in courses and more. More cuts will only increase the damage and that is what will happen without a revenue alternative.
We need to remember that education is key to keeping us competitive, to recovering from economic stagnation and for good jobs. To deny voters the chance to weigh in on a matter of this importance is irresponsible.
It is the right thing because our children need a voice. Absent the extension of revenue, additional reductions will fall heavily on children and young people, most of whom are not old enough to vote. They rely on us to care for them and to be their advocate.
I am not convinced that our children have many advocates in the Legislature and so I want a voice for my grandchildren. It is not right to put this magnitude of a decision in the hands of a few legislators. Allow parents, grandparents and others to advocate for their children and our future with a voice in the debate.
Students at Cuesta and Cal Poly will be greatly impacted by more cuts and should at least be given the chance to vote on their future. Allow us to vote.
It is not the right thing to use our children’s education as leverage to obtain political concessions that have little or nothing to do with children. It is not right to use our public schools as a bargaining tool to gain something for a political viewpoint. Children do not come to school as Democrats or Republicans and they do not graduate as liberals or conservatives. They graduate as all of our futures. Allow us to vote. It is the right thing to do.
Julian Crocker is county superintendent of schools.