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Majority Of Voters Support News Taxes For Schools

Fifty-four percent of likely voters polled by the Public Policy Institute of California said they plan to vote for Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative.

Voter support for Gov. Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative seems to be rising. If the measure passes it would mean level state funding for public schools.

A poll from the Public Policy Institute of California shows 54 percent of California’s likely voters plan to support the governor’s November tax initiative. That’s up from 52 percent in the group's March poll.

Brown’s measure would temporarily increase sales tax by a quarter cent and raise income tax on those earning more than $250,000 a year. If the measure fails, school funding will be cut by $455 per pupil, according to Lora Duzyk, head of business services for the San Diego County Office of Education.

School districts across San Diego County have issued preemptive layoff notices for the fall because teacher contracts cannot be ended mid-year. While the dramatic cuts necessary to brace for the possible November trigger cut are impossible to make once the school year starts, Duzyk said some could be reversed if the tax hike gets voter approval.

“They could be running at or above maximum class size," she said of the county's schools, "and then if the initiative passes then they could bring teachers back to reduce class sizes a little bit."

The measure would also repay about $2 billion in deferred payments to school districts. State funding deferrals mean many districts take out short-term bonds to pay for day to day operations, which costs districts in interest payments.

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