As the dark cloud of budget cuts looms over school districts across the state, Claremont became one of the few area cities to take stand on the issue.
The council voted on Tuesday in favor of a resolution supporting Proposition 30, a measure that would add a quarter cent to the sales tax and increases personal income tax on annual earnings of more than $250,000 for seven years.
The resolution passed with council members Sam Pedroza, Joe Lyons and Mayor Larry Schroeder in favor and council member Corey Calaycay and Mayor Pro-tem Opanyi Nasiali abstaining.
Residents who spoke at the meeting came down on both sides of the issue. Most who opposed the resolution said they saw no reason the city should endorse a state proposition, as it had no direct impact on the city. Speakers asked the council, if they took sides on this, why not take sides on other propositions.
Pedroza, who asked the issue be placed on the night’s agenda, said he was motivated to support the proposition for two reasons. First and foremost, it was important to several residents, who asked them to put it on their agenda.
The second reason is because of the way the proposition is written, he said. If Prop. 30 does not pass, funding for schools will be cut in January.
That is no idle threat, he said.
“(Arnold) Schwarzenegger was the best Democrat governor we ever had and (Jerry) Brown is the best Republican governor we’ve ever had because Brown is … we know that he says what he’s going to do,” Pedroza explained. “He killed out redevelopment agencies. That was all Brown. And I know, we know, that this governor will do what he says he’s going to do if Prop. 30 doesn’t pass.”
If the proposition does not pass, schools could be left hurting. So much of Claremont’s identity is tied to the schools in the districts. The property values are bolstered by the quality of education, he said.
Claremont Unified School District officials say they will lose millions if Proposition 30 fails to pass.