By John Myers, Sacramento Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times
Schools are not top of mind for Californians right now. Education wasn’t one of the top five issues voters cited in a recent poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California — a notable absence for an issue that’s historically been at or near the top of their worry list. (The current top concerns: homelessness, housing, jobs and the economy, the environment, and immigration.)
And yet two big education funding proposals are on their way to the ballot. Voters in March will consider Proposition 13, a plan to borrow $15 billion for building and renovating education facilities. Far more sweeping in its impact would be the likely November ballot measure to remove long-standing property tax restrictions on commercial properties. That proposal could add more than $4 billion a year to current school funding levels, and powerful education groups are prepared to spend tens of millions of campaign dollars to pass it, undoubtedly to be matched by business interests.