With just hours before the polls open in California, teachers and other unionized workers are trying to convince voters that the budget situation is as dire as Gov. Jerry Brown says it is, and that if Proposition 30's tax increases do not pass, $6 billion in cuts will further devastate California's schools.
"I've seen the devastating cuts; $20 billion over the last four years," said Lori Adams, math teacher at Burbank High School.
The proposition would raise the sales tax by ¼ cent for the next four years and increase income taxes for seven years on individuals earning more than $250,000 annually. Support for Prop 30 has been dwindling and, by Nov. 2, had dropped below 50 percent, according to a Field Poll.
Still, many supporters remain optimistic of its passage.
"If each of us can get one, two, three or four more people to vote, I guarantee this is going to pass,” said Pedro Ramirez, student at Cal State Long Beach.
If Prop 30’s ballot opponent, 38, passes with more votes, it supersedes Prop 30 with even greater tax increases, the revenue from which is more specifically targeted toward schools.
Unions and the governor support Prop 30 because, unlike 38, there wouldn't be a one-year delay to get the money.
"It's about the kids," Brown said. "It's about our schools. It's about the California dream."
But there is another part of Prop 30: it also contains a $6 billion guarantee to local governments to pay for the transfer of prisoners to cities and counties as part of realignment.
Opponents are concerned that Prop 30's money will go in the front door and out the back door, and won't make it to the schools.
"The governor and political leaders in Sacramento are threatening kids and parents with these cuts," said Douglas Boyd, LA County Board of Education member. "They don't have to make these cuts. The governor should call a special session of the legislature Wednesday after this scheme fails and do their job, and manage the budget properly."