All three education-related initiatives on the November 8 ballot were passed by California voters last week.
Proposition 51, which received 54 percent of the vote, is expected to generate millions of dollars in bonds for the construction and renovation of schools and other education facilities.
Proposition 55, the so-called millionaire tax initially approved by voters in 2012, passed with more than 62 percent of the vote. It extended for twelve years the state income tax on high-income earners. Proponents estimated the tax will raise billions of dollars a year for K-12 schools and community colleges.
Finally, Proposition 58—that ended previously established restrictions on bilingual education, passed with overwhelming support and received 72.4 percent voter approval. Proposition 58 was placed on the ballot by a two-thirds majority vote of the state legislature and thus, did not require signatures to be gathered to qualify for the ballot.
Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, Executive Director of Californians Together, an advocacy coalition that supported Proposition 58, referred to its passage as historic. “California will once again be the leader in promoting multilingual and bi-literacy programs for all students,” she said.
Propositions 55 and 58 were projected to pass easily while the passage of Passage of Prop. 51 was far from certain—it was opposed by California Governor Jerry Brown.
Wednesday afternoon following the General Election, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson thanked voters for passing what he identified as “three critical ballot measures” that will help improve California’s education system.
“Together these ballot measures will help our education system move forward so we can better serve our students and prepare them for 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “Proposition 55 continues a major investment in our schools, providing districts with the resources to continue the momentum we have seen reflected in increasing graduation rates, rising test scores in math and English, reduced class sizes, and the return of classes in art, music, science, and civics.”