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Superintendent John Deasy paints grim picture in State of District address

October 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
At the superintendent's annual State of the District address, Dr. John Deasy on Monday highlighted the Los Angeles Unified School District's successes. He said the district had its highest ever graduation rate, as well as student achievement rate, while noting that suspensions were cut in half.

But he said that could change.

"The state of the district is very strong and getting better - and its future is in peril," Deasy told the audience.

In peril, Deasy said, if voters don't pass propose tax increases for education on the November ballot.

Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing Proposition 30, which aims to increase the state sales tax 25 percent over four years and rises the income tax for those making more than $250,000.

There's also Proposition 38, which increases income tax rates on most Californians, claiming to add $10 billion in new education funding.

"The problem, of course, is both can't win," Deasy said. "When the public will make a decision, if they both vote yes, only the one with the highest actual voter tally becomes law."

Opponents said Californians are already over taxed. They said Sacramento isn't efficient at managing the funds it already controls.

In the state's official California Voter's Guide, the argument against Prop. 30 says, "Nothing in Prop. 30 reforms our education system to cut waste, eliminate bureaucracy or cut administrative overhead."

California voters have rejected the last eight statewide tax measures up for vote. Deasy said there will be layoffs if that happens again.

"The cuts are going to be immediate and the impact is going to be devastating," he said. "This is not hyperbole. You simply will lose at least a month of school where we already have a shortened school year. So, it's very, very devastating."

Brown is not supporting Prop. 38 and is worried about voter confusion. Deasy said there's nothing confusing about the dire cuts that will come if neither passes.