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State's schools chief to stump for Prop. 30 in Santa Rosa

California Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson will be in Santa Rosa Saturday campaigning for a school funding ballot initiative and speaking to a conference of local school board members.

Torlakson will be the keynote speaker at the North Bay School Trustees Fall Symposium sponsored by the Sonoma County Office of Education. Torlakson's talk on the November ballot initiatives on school funding, scheduled for noon, is open to the public and will include a question-and-answer session.

"Since most of the schools have decimated their staff development budget for trustees, we have been trying to host a series of topics to keep them informed and current and contemporary on issues," said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Schools chief of the third annual conference.

Torlakson also is scheduled to join about 50 members of the California Teachers Association at 10 a.m. to walk precincts and talk to voters in support of Proposition 30 and against Proposition 32, according to Helen O'Donnell, a California Teachers Association representative.

The campaigning is happening up and down the state in place of a scheduled quarterly state CTA meeting, O'Donnell said.

"It's kind of a big deal," O'Donnell said of canceling the two-day meeting in favor of campaigning.

Proposition 32 would ban corporations and unions from directly contributing to candidates. But the most controversial provision would prohibit the practice of political contributions through payroll deductions, the primary method unions use to raise political cash.

Proposition 30, supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, would raise sales tax rates .025 percent for four years, 2013 to 2016. It also would raise income taxes on incomes greater than $500,000 until 2018.

The current state budget was built upon the assumption that Proposition 30 would pass. If it does not, K-12 spending will be cut by $4.8 billion for the current school year, according to the California Budget Project, a nonpartisan group.

Proposition 30 is supported by the California Teachers Associations but the California PTA is backing a rival measure, Proposition 38, which would not change the sales tax rate but would impose a 12-year progressive income tax increase ranging 0.4 percent on annual incomes between $14,600 and $34,600, and 2.2 percent for incomes more than $5 million. Funds would not be available for the current school year.


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