SAN DIEGO—Hoping to sway those with the power to vote in the November election, San Diego Unified School District students took to a street near Balboa Park Thursday in support of Proposition J.
Their cries could be heard above the din of the Theodore Roosevelt Middle school bell announcing the end of classes for the day. "Hip, hip, hurray! Vote yay on J. Save our schools, hey," was written on one student's sign.
If Prop J is approved in November, the ballot measure will allow the school district to levy a parcel tax on city residents.
Supporters said the temporary tax for the next five years is needed because of a project budget shortfall of $140 million next year. The president of the Parent Institute for Quality Education said Prop J is an investment for the future.
"They're doing it because they see the need to invest in our children," said David Valladolid. "And by investing in our children, we invest in ourselves."
Without the passage of J, proponents said district administrators will have little choice but to make major cuts. Areas in danger of being affected include laying off teachers and other personnel, cutting full-time kindergarten back to a half-day, increasing class sizes, and eliminating high school sports.
"Proposition J is going to help the city of San Diego to support their school district for our children," Valladolid said.
An opponent to the tax levy said that wasn't true. San Diego's Tax Fighter Richard Rider said the tax will not go to schools, but to teacher's salaries. He called the request for a tax in this economic climate "reprehensible."
"You have Prop D on the ballot coming up. We have a state tax increase on the ballot," Rider said. "Voters are tired of this. We're not ATM machines. It is time for the school district to realize that they've have to make do with what they've got and when money gets tight. Figure out a different way to deliver services that we so desperately need."