California voters said “yes” to Proposition 30. It raises the state's sales tax rate and the income tax rates for the wealthy. Nearly 54% of voters passed the seven year $50 billion dollar tax hike. Some of the money will help fund education. In Fresno County the majority of residents rejected the proposition.
Fresno Unified School District will receive millions from the state. $17 million will be incorporated into this year's budget for things like the preschool program, music, and middle school curriculum.
Eighth grade student Alex Romero plays the guitar on his way home from school. He loves music, but doesn't have it as a class at Tioga Middle School.
“In my afterschool program we have a music class where we usually perform or practice,” said Romero.
On Wednesday, Fresno Unified says it plans to revamp electives at middle schools so kids have more options. It could require extending the school day.
“More electives, more career tech education type courses, more opportunities for students to get career-ready and college-ready while in middle school,” said Michael Hanson, superintendent.
The Valley's largest district will pump $4.4 million into middle school curriculum. Another $7 million will build the preschool program, doubling student participation to 80%. $2 million is for music in grades K-8. $1 million will be spent on new music instruments. The news makes at least one student very happy.
“I mean I really love music and if they're going to do that, I'd really love to stay [in middle school],” said Romero.
Decisions on where Prop 30 money would be spent were made in September with an emphasis on keeping students interested in learning.
“Keeping kids in school and engaged and on target to graduate through meaningful programs and meaningful educational opportunities,” said Ruth Quinto, chief financial officer.
The transportation department is also getting more money. It will go to provide bus access to more students in middle and high school. Other money is allocated for technology upgrades, athletic directors and campus culture directors, national board certification for teachers and additional custodians.