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L.A. schools Supt. Deasy relieved Proposition 30 approved

November 7, 2012 |  8:21 am

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy expressed relief and gratitude to voters Wednesday after they approved Proposition 30, which prevented nearly $6 billion in immediate cuts to California’s public schools and colleges.

Proposition 30 passed statewide with 54% of the vote, with 96% of precincts tabulated. In Los Angeles County, voters supported the temporary tax increase with a plurality of 60%, with 100% of precincts counted.

In L.A. County especially, "people were saying we understand the cuts in schools,” Deasy said, in an interview at school district headquarters, west of downtown. “California is already third from the bottom among states in spending per pupil. Voters were saying enough is enough, and they want for their kids what they had.”

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

The measure will increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years. And, for seven years, it raises taxes on individuals after their first $250,000 in income and on couples after their first $500,000 in earnings.

The short-term effect of Proposition 30 is to preserve current spending levels in schools, which already have adjusted to cuts from previous years. In L.A. Unified, the result has been thousands of layoffs, larger classes and a shortened school year. If the measure had failed, the nation’s second-largest school system was prepared to lop off three weeks of school, in addition to the one week that already could be lost.

Deasy said he had been working out doomsday budget scenarios with staff. He also had meetings scheduled for Wednesday with principals to prepare for the worst. Instead, the day’s agenda will cover such topics as progress with students who are learning English, new state learning standards and the teacher evaluation process.

FULL RESULTS: California races

“We have a very different day in front of us,” Deasy said. “Instead of preparing to cut a quarter of a billion dollars immediately and then three-quarters of a billion dollars before next year, we look at our plan of budget stabilization and moving the district forward.”

Proposition 30 was championed by Gov. Jerry Brown and was born of this year’s state budget agreement. The governor has scheduled a news conference in the state capitol building at 11 a.m., where he is expected to discuss the election results.

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— Howard Blume

Photo: John Deasy in September. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times.

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