UPDATE: Betty Olson-Jones, the Oakland teachers union president, said the OEA executive board’s anti-tax extension position has since been revised to a more neutral stance. The union’s official position will depend on how the representative council votes Monday evening.
The fate of a proposed ballot measure to extend temporary sales, vehicle and income taxes in California could mean the difference of $330 in state funding per public school student. In Oakland Unified, that amounts to about $12 million — or $15 million, if you include the city’s independently run charter schools. But it might not even make it onto the ballot.
The Republican lawmakers’ opposition to the tax extension is widely known, but it’s not only the right that’s against the idea. Some of the far-left members of the Oakland teachers union have taken the same position, saying the state should be taxing the rich instead.
The Oakland Education Association leadership voted (8-6) this month against the tax extension. In fact, it voted to oppose Gov. Jerry Brown’s entire budget proposal, even though the governor is seeking to keep k-12 education funding relatively flat at the expense of social services, higher education and other state programs.
The anti-tax extension stance is not union policy yet, says union President Betty Olson-Jones. At a meeting on Monday, union representatives from each school will approve or overturn the executive board’s recommendation. (Olson-Jones told the Oakland school board last week that she did not support it. “I’m going to be really transparent. I voted against it,” she said.)
Here is the motion in question:
NBI # 2: I move that consistent with the position taken by the March 2nd coalition statewide—and OEA’s position taken unanimously by the Executive Board on February 2—the OEA opposes Jerry Brown’s proposed budget and regressive tax extensions. Brown’s proposal pits different social services and different parts of the education community against one another, and even were the regressive tax extensions to pass, there would still be $12.5 billion in cuts. We call instead for taking the revenues necessary to provide full social and educational services from corporate and bank profits, and from taxes on millionaires and billionaires, and that this is the message the OEA brings to Sacramento on March 2. (Mandel/Gordon)
MOTION PASSES 8-6. (In Favor: Neat, Airgood, Kappner, R. Brown, Mandel, Gordon, De Leeuw, K. Brown. Opposed: Olson-Jones, Lopez, Thomas, Green, Swensen, Apaydin. Members Not Present: Elmore. Not present for vote: Ellis)
Do you know how your school’s union rep will vote? What’s your take on the OEA executive board’s recommendation?