(EDITOR's NOTE: Click the video to hear the speech by LaTanya Montgomery of Millikan Middle School and CHAMPS Charter High.)
Toilet paper was the last straw for John Mekrut.
“Every single turn we’re asked for money at the schools,” said the Studio City dad of two girls. “Even for the basics.”
Then, he had it.
“I was asked to buy toilet paper and I said, ‘No! I’m done! That’s it!’”
(See his full speech above in the Gallery under Videos.)
His was one of a half-dozen parents who expressed their grief about what is going on in the public school system. The local PTA members, teachers, parents and community leaders in the Valley Gateway PTA helped gather signatures to get Prop 38 on the ballot.
The measure would guarantee more than $500 million over the next 12 years for local schools.
“The money could be used to reduce class sizes, add counselors, librarians and nurses and restore art, math and science to San Fernando Valley schools and all schools across California,” said Heidi Brewington. She said she is concerned about the diminishing education that her son in 10th grade and her granddaughter who is just entering the school system will get in the public school system.
Dana Keyes was told about it by the principal at Carpenter Community Charter School, and decided to bring her daughter Sabrina to the rally. They made signs with Sabrina’s friend Elizabeth Wooster and showed up at the rally.
People passed by and listened to the speeches by the parents at Studio City (Beeman) Park, where they passed out information sheets, buttons and T-shirts, as well as handed out water and pizza.
More rallies are planned in other parts of the San Fernando Valley (check your local Patch).
Librarians and PE coaches and nurses are cut due to budget cuts and with this initiative, “it guarantees that no legislator can touch the money,” Brewington said.
Andrew Barrett, is a father of two girls at Carpenter and vice president of membership for the Valley Gateway Council of PTAs, and he talked about “libraries closing is just absurd to me.” (See his speech among the Videos above.)
Ana Grande, a community activist who is the first in her family to have graduated college, talked about how she learned how to play the viola in school in 1980 and how that helped her learn math and like school more.
“There is no help for our future for the schools,” Grande said. “We have to reinvest in our future by investing in education.”
Kim Patillo Brownson, who has two small children, 2 and 4, said she has seen the benefits of pre-school. “Teachers tell me that they can recognize who has been to pre-school because they can read and write faster.”
Patty Scripter, who is the director of legislation for the state PTA (and lives locally), came to the rally and explained that although there are two competing education ballots, only one can win, and this is one is the most comprehensive and keeps the money in the schools.
With Prop 38, Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks, for example, will get $2 million for their budget in 2013-2014 and up to $4.75 million in 2023.
Carpenter stands to gain $665,000 next year and $1.5 mil in 2023.
CHAMPS, the Charter High School of Arts and Performing in Van Nuys will earn $741,000 the first year and $1.74 mil in 2023. (On their website, anyone can see what each school stands to gain with this proposition.)
Multimillionaires will pay 2.2 percent more in taxes but most people earning under $50,000 a year won’t pay any more taxes.
“This is such a common sense and simple solution to help our schools, and once people are familiar with it and read it, they will see that, too,” Brewington said.
View the gallery and videos above of the rally, and if you were there and have photos, please add them (click ADD YOUR PHOTOS on the button near the photos).
For more information, go to www.prop38forlocalschools.org.