California State Ballot Measures Needed To Help Solve Budget Crisis And Fund Schools Are Falling Short Of 50% Support In May Special Election

Five state ballot measures aimed at solving California’s budget crisis are falling short of the support needed to pass in the May special election, a sign that voters may force lawmakers into another fierce clash over tax hikes and spending cuts, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The state’s dismal economy has already partly unraveled the budget deal that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature reached last month, with a drop in tax collections leaving a new $8-billion shortfall. Rejection of the ballot measures would widen the gap to nearly $14 billion.

The least popular measure, Proposition 1C, is also the one that state leaders are counting on most for immediate fiscal relief: It would let the state borrow $5 billion against future lottery revenues. The cost, to be paid over decades, would be billions in new interest obligations, and less lottery money to meet future spending needs.

The poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Proposition 1C would lose in a rout if the May 19 election were held today, with 37% of likely voters in favor and 50% opposed.

Faring slightly better, but still decisively rejected, would be Proposition 1A. It would cap state spending while extending billions in temporary tax hikes for an extra two years. The survey found 39% of likely voters for the measure and 46% against it.

So far, Proposition 1A is the measure that has drawn the most attention. Conservatives on talk radio, enraged by the extension of the tax hikes, have made its defeat a top priority. Some labor unions are weighing whether to campaign against the spending cap.

The dynamics of the special election are volatile, and public opinion could swing dramatically once campaign advertising begins. The poll found more than 10% of likely voters are undecided on most of the ballot measures. Also, voter turnout is likely to be low, and it is unclear what mix of Californians will wind up casting ballots in the oddly timed election.

Passage of each ballot measure requires at least one vote above 50%. Three measures were winning a plurality of support in the poll, but still falling short of the 50% threshold. The poll has a margin of sampling error of three percentage points among likely voters.

The poll found likely voters lukewarm on twin measures to loosen restrictions on money that Californians have dedicated solely to children’s health and mental health programs under previous initiatives.

Both measures, Propositions 1D and 1E, fall a few points short of 50%, but more voters backed them than opposed them.

Voter sentiment was split on Proposition 1B, which puts money into schools in future years to make up for cuts this year, with 44% in favor and 41% opposed. Lawmakers made it part of the ballot package in part to dissuade the state’s potent teachers unions from joining the opposition campaign.

All in all, “the supporters of the propositions have their work cut out for them,” said pollster Mark Baldassare, president of the policy institute.,0,3460616.story

Aliso Niguel High School In Aliso Viejo Is A California Distinguished High School

2008 API = 825

3197 Students Enrolled



Aliso Niguel High School (Aliso Viejo 92656) is nestled near a creek bed in the city of Aliso Viejo, California, a mere stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean. In many ways, however, it resides even closer in philosophical proximity to the state’s legendary Silicon Valley.

The school’s renowned “high tech” environment provides quite a contrast to the California beach culture so immortalized in the American psyche.

One of the youngest high schools ever to be honored as a California Distinguished School,

National Blue Ribbon School

New American High School

AlisoNiguelHighSchoolFrongANHS is without question one of the most technologically advanced schools in the region – a region where the words technology, network and infrastructure are batted about like so many volleyballs on the beach. Commonly called a high school for the 21st century, ANHS has been visited by California Superintendent of Schools Delaine Easton (1996), representatives of former governor Pete Wilson (1994), and business leaders from throughout the community. ANHS has become a model of everything that is “right” about public education.

AlisoNiguelWolverinesOpening its doors in 1993 with a student body of 1400, ANHS became the fourth comprehensive high school in the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD), one of the fastest growing district in the state. Teachers with eyes set on the future were immediately attracted to ANHS. They saw themselves as pioneers who would turn the promise of educational excellence into reality. They understood that technology is only a tool until placed in the hands of thoughtful teachers who have the ability to inspire, motivate and challenge students. For example, the TV Production instructor quickly transformed a small, ordinary classroom into a state-of-the-art newsroom complete with industry-standard cameras and editing equipment. Within a year of the school’s opening, students were not only broadcasting live daily news programs to every classroom, they were also producing the CUSD superintendent’s Chalk Talk cable access television show!

Yet, technology represents only a part of ANHS’s total vision of providing individualized programs that transform the larger high school landscape into smaller group settings. The overall educational program revolves around a central theme: There are two lasting bequests we can give our children – one is roots, the other is wings. Interweaving a strong academic core (the roots) with incentives for personal aspiration (the wings), the ANHS campus houses teams of teachers and students working together in a culture that is collaborative, dynamic and supportive, while thriving on shared discovery. Even though the school’s population has almost doubled since opening, ANHS still feels like a hometown school – a place to belong, a place to garner strength for the journey ahead. Like the nearby Pacific Ocean, ANHS and the communities it serves are dynamic bodies, constantly changing to nurture their inhabitants.

The ANHS culture continues to reshape itself, responding to input collected from town hall gatherings, small group meetings and community feedback forums. In response to these dialogues, ANHS is focusing on three critical areas: teaching practices (technology integration, project oriented/hands-on activities), assessment methods (curriculum mapping, comprehensive rubrics, standardized testing strategies) and logistical structures (block schedule, tutorial period, cross-curricular teaming). On any given day, a typical Wolverine student might begin the morning conducting on-line research in the Media Center, spend mid-day attending tutorial for extra help with math, and finish the afternoon integrating historical facts with related literature in a cross-curricular Humanitas (English and social science) program.

A commitment to excellence is the cornerstone of all ANHS programs. Spurred by the academic talents and ambitions of their fellow students, over half the ANHS seniors regularly take the SAT, last year scoring well over state and national averages with a combined score of 1107. ANHS teachers have added steadily to the number of AP courses available, now offering a total of seventeen. Additionally, AP course enrollment has steadily increased, while the combined pass rate has remained at an impressive 78%. The newly mandated California Stanford 9 test is given annually to over 95% of ANHS students in grades 9-11 (providing normreferenced data in reading, language, mathematics, science and social studies), while demonstrating that Wolverine students consistently score higher than their district and state counterparts.

However, such impressive test scores and quantitative data tell only half the story. Through an academic and co-curricular culture that seeks to incorporate every student, the real proof of success lies in the nearly unanimous perception that “there is something for everyone” at ANHS. This core value was best exemplified last year when the Associated Student Body was presented the “Model of Unity Award” by local community organizations. At ANHS, a special-needs student, an AP scholar and a “typical student in the middle” can all be seen walking shoulder-to-shoulder with heads held high in a spirit of full inclusion.

28000 Wolverine Way, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-3385 (949) 831-5590

State Of California Budget Crisis Is Shrinking Payments To California Schools By Estimated $3 Billion Creating Serious Shortfalls For School Districts

As state legislators and the governor battle each other over how to create a budget for a struggling California, School District officials are left to struggle, too, facing a second year of deep, midyear budget cuts.

“The cuts to schools and state services proposed in the governor’s budget only serve to make an awful situation worse,” he said. “His call to defer nearly $3 billion in payments due to schools early this year would create a cash-flow crisis for our schools. I am also adamantly opposed to his proposal to reduce the school year by five days

The Redondo Beach Unified School District, which last year lost nearly $2 million in revenue from the state, this year is looking at approximately $2.4 million in cuts.

According to Chief Business Official Janet Redella, this is an almost word-for-word repeat of what happened this time last year: Apportionment checks are late, categorical funds are in jeopardy and, worse still said Redella, is that these are still 2008’s issues.

“This has been a problem since the governor’s proposal last January,” she said. “The fact that we’re in 2009 and (we’re) still talking about 2008 is alarming.”

The budget at issue – the 2008-09 budget – covers the fiscal year ending in June. Redella explained that the 2009-10 budget hasn’t even been addressed yet, and the inability of the legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to agree on a budget impacts the School District daily, she said.

“I’m estimating $2.4 million in midyear reductions. What reductions can I make halfway through the year?” she asked. “If the Legislature continues to not come to a conclusion on this, we’ll still not have concrete information to make our decision on. The indecisiveness is backing us into a corner. The longer it takes, the fewer options we have available to us.”

This week, in an attempt to remedy California’s nearly $40 billion deficit, Schwarzenegger proposed tweaking Proposition 98’s guaranteed minimum funding to schools, which could create a $7 billion loss in future funding to the state’s public schools. This is in addition to earlier cost-saving suggestions such as shortening the school year by up to five days to save approximately $1 billion.

State Superintendent Jack O’Connell released a statement Jan. 9 that called the proposed $6 billion in statewide education cuts “crippling.”