This article, the first in an intended series on education in Eagle Rock, is written by Stephan Early, the immediate past president of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and an English teacher at Eagle Rock High School for the past 30 years.
At the most recent meeting of the in Eagle Rock City Hall on Aug. 14, I ended the seemingly never-ending dialogue about marijuana to mention to our Councilman, that has not been in such dire straits in all the time he has known Eagle Rock over the past 16 or 17 years.
It was the day that the high school had opened after the summer break, and Caroline Ward Roncalli, a new member of the Council who has graciously stepped in as Youth Director, smoothly spoke up and said to the Councilman that she had one class, Advance Placement Psychology, which had so many students in it—61 to be precise—that she had felt it necessary to sit on the floor.
It is believed that the AP class Roncalli mentioned has been modified in size, but classes at Eagle Rock High are very large nonetheless. American Literature/Contemporary Composition classes, which had in prior years been limited to 20 students, are now routinely, doubled—40 to 45 students in a class is not unusual. Senior English classes, now referred to as Language Arts classes, have 45 to 52 students.
The Councilman, who served on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education a number of years ago, was immediately attentive. He shared with the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council that he had thought a while back that the District was on its way to going broke.
I suggested to Mr. Huizar that a show of support from the City Council for Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 ballot measure might be appropriate because it would alleviate some of the distress caused by budget cuts throughout the state.
If Proposition 30 succeeds, it would:
- Raise California’s sales tax to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent—a 3.45-percent increase over current law. (Under the Brown Tax Hike, the sales tax would have increased to 7.75 percent.)
- Create three new high-income tax brackets for taxpayers who have taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, $300,000, and $500,000. This increased tax would be in effect for seven years.
- Impose a 10.3-percent tax rate on taxable income in excess of $250,000 but less than $300,000—a percentage increase of 9.71 over current policy. The 10.3-percent income tax rate is currently only paid by taxpayers who have more than $1 million in taxable income.
- Impose an 11.3-percent tax rate on taxable income in excess of $300,000 but less than $500,000—a percentage increase of 17.7 percent over current policy.
- Impose a 12.3-percent tax rate on taxable income in excess of $500,000—a percentage increase of 24.39 over current policy.
Based on California Franchise Tax Board data for 2009, the additional income tax accruing from Prop. 30 will only be imposed on the top 3 percent of California taxpayers. Estimated revenues vary from Gov. Brown’s $9 billion estimate to $6.8 billion estimated by the non-partisan Legislative Analysts Office.
The Councilman, always attentive to the needs of Eagle Rock and his constituents, suggested that the City Council would be making a recommendation and that the ERNC may want to submit a letter endorsing Prop 30.
I will be asking that this be considered at the next Executive Board meeting, scheduled on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at . If the proposal gets on the ERNC agenda, then it will be discussed at the next ERNC regular meeting the following Tuesday, Sept. 4.
All opinions on Prop. 30 and any other subject pertinent to Eagle Rock are welcome, as always, at all of the ERNC’s meetings. The Council hopes to see more and more constituents attending and speaking up, not least because there are always two sides to any issue.
Finally, the state of our public schools affects all Eagle Rock residents—whether or not their children attend them. The state of local schools is, after all, a big determinant of home values.
This is the first in what I hope will be a series of articles by me on education in Eagle Rock, and the function of the Neighborhood Council.