State Senate Committee Rejects New Funding Source for Schools

Press Release posted 4/25/12 – The Senate Committee on Education rejected a measure today that would have given California school districts a new funding source, without raising taxes. SB 1295, authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), would have allowed districts to provide advertising space on the exterior of its school buses and gave full authority to local school districts over how to spend the revenue that resulted from this new funding option.

The defeat of SB 1295 comes on the heels of a California Taxpayers’ Association report that claims the Huff legislation could have resulted in $31 million annually in additional revenues for California schools.

“This is a shortsighted decision by Democrats on the Senate Education Committee,” remarked the Senate Republican Leader following the vote. “As Democrats base the educational future of our schoolchildren on a tax measure that may or may not get approved this November, we need to lead by finding alternative ways to help protect our teachers and continue to provide a quality education to our children.”

Advertising on the exterior of school buses is already permitted in seven states, and the practice was most recently adopted New Jersey and Utah.  Under current California law, school districts already sell advertising space inside school buses, on the exterior of campus buildings, at lunch tables, hallways, school-related publications (such as newspapers and yearbooks) and in sports facilities.

A recent Department of Education study revealed 127 California school districts face severe financial jeopardy because of state budget cuts. Seven districts were given “negative certifications” in The First Interim Status Report for fiscal 2011-12, which means they do not have the resources to meet financial obligations for the current or upcoming school years.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction blames the problem on “deep cuts made to school funding,” which occurred under a majority vote budget that contained more than $1 billion in trigger cuts. No Republican supported the school funding cuts ordered by the Governor last December.

“We should be providing solutions, not gambling on the future of our children,” said Senator Huff. “My measure provided a new and needed source of funding for our schools at no cost to taxpayers. We are all disappointed in the decision by the Democrat majority.”