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 May 1998

Ballot Propositions
Analyses of June 1998 Ballot Propositions

Proposition 219
Title:
Ballot Measures. Application. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

Sponsor: Senator John Lewis. Legislative History: SCA 18 (1996); Assembly Floor (57-15); Senate Floor (28-1).

Major Provisions:

  • Prohibits an initiative or legislative ballot proposition from containing any provision that would be applied unequally across jurisdictional lines. It would require ballot measures to be implemented equally across geographic and political subdivisions, regardless of the success or failure of the measure in any particular area.
  • Prohibits state or local ballot measures from containing provisions whose enactment depends on the vote level received.

Background:
Proposition 172, which was approved on the November 1993 ballot, increased the sales tax by one-half percent with the revenues dedicated to local public safety. The measure provided that if it passed it would be collected in all 58 counties. The measure also provided, however, that a county could only keep the new revenue if the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution supporting Proposition 172, or if a majority of voters in the county voted for the measure.

Measure A in Sacramento County, which failed on the November 1994 ballot, proposed an increase in the sales tax. If passed by a two-thirds vote, the new revenue would have been dedicated to sheriffs and probation departments; if passed by a majority vote, the revenue would have gone into the county's general fund.

Policy Considerations:
If the state as a whole passes a ballot measure, should the whole state be affected, and not just those areas of the state that passed the measure?

Should voters know what they're voting for at the time they're voting and that the measure's effect will not vary depending on the level of support?

Fiscal Impact:
State Government: No direct fiscal impact.
Local Government: No direct fiscal impact.
Taxpayers: No direct fiscal impact.

Support Arguments:
Proposition 219 will prohibit "political blackmail," where residents of a jurisdiction would not receive the benefits of a ballot measure because their jurisdiction voted against it while it passed statewide.

The measure would guarantee that benefits of ballot measures are provided to all Californians.

Support Arguments Signed by: Senator John Lewis and Matthew Webb, member, Western Valleys Group of Riverside County.

Opposition Arguments: None filed.


CAL-TAX POSITIONS:
219 Support
220 No Recommendation
221  No Recommendation
222 No Recommendation
223 Oppose
224 Oppose
225 No Recommendation
226 No Recommendation
227 No Recommendation

Proposition 220
Title: Courts. Superior and Municipal Court Consolidation. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

Sponsor: Senator Bill Lockyer. Legislative History: SCA 4 (1996); Assembly Floor (58-1); Senate Floor (38-0).

Major Provisions:

  • Gives counties the option of merging superior and municipal courts. Upon approval of a majority of municipal and superior court judges within a county, the municipal courts would be abolished; all municipal court judges, officers and employees would become superior court judges, officers and employees; pending municipal court cases and records would be transferred to the superior court, and existing municipal court locations would become superior courts.
  • Establishes an appellate division in each unified superior court.
  • Requires newly appointed judges to a unified superior court to have at least 10 years membership in the State Bar imme-diately preceding selection (exempts previously selected municipal court judges).
  • Provides for election of judges of unified courts.

Background:
California has 58 separate superior courts served by 789 judges and 90 separate municipal court districts served by 670 judges. Superior court judges are paid $107,390 per year, and municipal court judges are paid $98,070. Court workload fluctuates year to year; sometimes the superior courts are more overloaded, sometimes municipal courts, resulting in judges being temporarily assigned to one court or the other. On average, 10 percent of municipal court judges are paid superior court salaries for serving assignments to that court. Several courts have consolidated and coordinated most functions, but actual unification of trial courts is not possible without amending the California Constitution to give trial court judges equal status.

Court consolidation has been an issue for a number of years. In 1982, voters rejected Proposition 10. Several other court consolidation proposals have failed in the Legislature. In 1994, voters approved Proposition 191, which converted all justice courts to municipal courts.

Sacramento, Riverside, and Ventura counties have already accomplished some consolidation of court systems by combining the municipal and superior court calendars, jury systems, administrative structures, computer systems, and cross-assigning many judges to work in both systems. These changes can be accomplished under current law and are thought to have produced efficiencies.

Policy Considerations:
Does court consolidation facilitate the administration of justice and provide for cost savings?

Would unification lower or increase the standards of service?

Would unification raise costs to the extent that judges are paid at superior court rates to perform municipal court work?

The municipal court, a traditional training ground for superior court, would be eliminated, and governors would no longer be able to test individuals in the municipal court before elevating them to superior court. Elevations of current municipal court judges to superior court would occur without action by a governor, or examination of the municipal court judges by the local or state bar.

Is total consolidation necessary, or does partial consolidation, as done in several counties under current law, provide enough savings and efficiencies?

Fiscal Impact:
State and Local Government: According to the legislative analyses, potentially significant state and local savings from more efficient administration of court operations; increased trial court funding costs of up to $6 million to raise municipal court judges salary to the level of superior court judges.

Administrative savings, if any, would likely be found in elimination of redundancies in personnel and information technology. Experience with partial consolidations suggests that costs would not actually decrease, but growth in costs would slow, some future cost increases could be avoided, and courts would be more able to handle their workload within existing resources.

Taxpayers: No direct fiscal impact.

Support Arguments:
The "Three Strikes" law is causing courts to get backlogged with more jury trials. This measure would help the courts handle the increased load.

Consolidating courts would help speed resolution of civil and criminal cases.

The backlogs in the system are causing early release of dangerous criminals.

Proposition 220 would save taxpayers money by more efficiently using the courts' resources.

Support arguments signed by: Senator Bill Lockyer; Joel Fox, president, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association; Sheriff Charles Byrd, president, California State Sheriffs' Association.

Opposition Arguments:
Proposition 220 has nothing to do with preserving the "Three Strikes" law. In fact, the main proponent of Proposition 220 has been an enemy to "Three Strikes."

It would eliminate the "people's court," which has been an effective and efficient system for handling small, but important, cases.

The measure would not save money, but would increase costs for judges' pay and retirement benefits.

All of the claimed economic efficiencies can be accomplished by simpler legislation without combining the courts.

Opposition arguments signed by: Mike Reynolds, author of Three Strikes and You're Out Law; Lewis Uhler, president, National Tax Limitation Committee; and Edward Jagels, Kern County District Attorney.


Does court consolidation facilitate the administration of justice and provide for cost savings?

Proposition 221
Title: Subordinate Judicial Officers. Discipline. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

Sponsor: Senator Tim Leslie. Legislative History: SCA 19 (1996); Assembly Floor (72-1); Senate Floor (39-0).

Major Provisions:

  • Gives the Commission on Judicial Performance discretionary jurisdiction with regard to oversight and discipline of subordinate judicial officers (court commissioners and referees), subject to review upon petition to the Supreme Court. The authority of a court to discipline or dismiss a subordinate judicial officer as its employee would not be affected.

Background:
There are approximately 320 commissioners and referees employed by 175 trial courts in California, normally assigned to probate, divorce, traffic, juvenile and other matters where the law is well settled and the factual issues fall into predictable patterns. They can also serve as temporary judges when the parties agree. Presiding judges are responsible for disciplining court commissioners and referees.

The Commission on Judicial Performance was established to provide discipline for elected judges without impeachment proceedings. Disciplinary options include private admonishment, public censure and removal from office. During the past two years, the commission sent advisory letters in five cases reprimanding a presiding judge for failing to respond, or for failing to develop a policy for responding to complaints regarding subordinate judicial officers.

Policy Considerations:
The limited tenure and frequent turnover of presiding judges makes it difficult to achieve consistency in supervision of commissioners and referees. Is there a statewide interest in consistent disciplinary actions toward all judicial officers?

Fiscal Impact:
State Government: According to the Department of Finance, increased annual General Fund costs of $70,000 for one additional staff position at the Commission to respond to inquiries concerning subordinate judicial officers.
Local Government: Unknown
Taxpayers: No direct fiscal impact.

Support Arguments:
Appointed court commissioners have made bad decisions in family law and other matters because they are not accountable enough and cannot refuse a case if they have a conflict of interest.

This measure, which received strong bipartisan support in the Legislature, will allow the Commission on Judicial Performance to discipline court commissioners who put Californians at risk by their bad decisions.

Support arguments signed by: Senator Tim Leslie; Kate Killeen, president, Women Prosecutors of California; and George Kennedy, president, California District Attorneys Association.

Opposition Arguments: None filed.


The limited tenure and frequent turnover of presiding judges makes it difficult to achieve consistency in supervision of commissioners and referees. Is there a statewide interest in consistent disciplinary actions toward all judicial officers?

Proposition 222
Title: Murder. Peace Officer Victim. Sentence Credits. Legislative Initiative Amendment.

Sponsor: Assemblyman Rod Pacheco. Legislative History: AB 446 (1997); Assembly Floor (74-1); Senate Floor (33-0).

Major Provisions:

  • Increases the term of punishment to confinement in the state prison for life without possibility of parole when a defendant convicted of second-degree murder specifically intended to kill a peace officer or to inflict great bodily injury on the peace officer, or personally used a dangerous or deadly weapon or a firearm in the commission of the offense.

Background:
Existing law, amended by initiative statute, provides that any person guilty of murder in the second degree shall suffer confinement in the state prison for a term of 25 years to life if the victim was a peace officer who was killed while engaged in the performance of his or her duties, and the defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the victim was such a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties.

Because this proposal would amend an initiative statute, it must be approved by the voters to take effect.

Policy Considerations:
Prison populations have grown faster than other government caseloads, and that growth has caused rapidly rising prison costs. Do the benefits of this policy outweigh the costs?

Fiscal Impact:
State Government: According to the Senate Appropriations Committee analysis, unknown, as increased incarceration imposed under the bill will not occur until approximately 2023.
Local Government: Unknown.
Taxpayers: No direct fiscal impact.

Support Arguments:
This measure would close a loophole that allows some "cop killers" to be released from prison early.

Peace officers risk their lives for us and deserve our protection.

Support arguments signed by: Assembly Member Rod Pacheco; Senator John Lewis; and Governor Pete Wilson.

Opposition Arguments: None filed.


Prison populations have grown faster than other government caseloads, and that growth has caused rapidly rising prison costs. Do the benefits of this policy outweigh the costs?

Proposition 223
Title:
Schools. Spending Limits on Administration. Initiative Statute.

Sponsor: Tyrone Vahedi, United Teachers of Los Angeles.

Major Provisions:

  • Requires each school district to report to the State Board of Education the total amount spent on administration. Districts also must calculate the total percentage of federal, state and local funds spent on administration and report those figures to the public.
  • Requires each school district to include in its budget a system indicating the contribution of each expenditure to the achievement of a specific performance objective pursuant to the district's effort to improve pupil performance.
  • Limits spending on administrative costs, as defined, to no more than 5 percent of all funds received by a district, starting in the 1999-2000 fiscal year.
  • Fines districts failing to comply with the provisions of the initiative. The State Board of Education would impose fines of 5 percent of the basic per-ADA (average daily attendance) revenue limit times total ADA.
  • Starting in 2004, each district must contract for an independent performance audit and fiscal efficiency review.

Background:
There are 999 school districts in California. Of those, 586 are elementary districts, 104 are high school districts and 309 are unified. They range in size from a 20-student elementary school district to a 650,000-student unified school district. There are small rural school districts with significant transportation costs and large suburban districts with no transportation costs at all. Most districts provide federally mandated programs that add to administrative costs. Yet, some have none. Many districts operate expensive special education programs while others rely on their County Office of Education to serve their special education students.

According to a survey of 400 school districts by the Association of California School Administrators, on average, smaller districts spend a greater share on administration than larger districts. The smallest districts, those with less than 500 pupils, average about 10.9 percent in administrative costs as defined by the initiative. The largest districts, those with more than 75,000 pupils, have average administrative costs of about 6.7 percent.

A 1995 study of education spending conducted by the Rand Corporation found the average ratio of classroom instruction to administration to be about 94 percent classroom to 6 percent administration. "When all funds are considered," the report said, "school site expenditure equals 94 cents of each educational dollar." The state Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst's Office estimated that of the $27.7 billion in school district revenues from all sources in 1993-94, $1.9 billion or 6.9 percent was spent on administration as defined in "95/5."

Policy Considerations:
The 95/5 formula would effectively earmark 95 percent of school funds for certain activities. Earmarked revenue tends to stay outside periodic public scrutiny and often results in too little or too much revenue for its designated purpose. Is this wise?

Performance audits, efficiency reviews, and tracking administrative spending would be beneficial, but would the benefits outweigh the costs of complying with the 5 percent limit?

This proposal would transfer authority for determining levels of local school expenditures from an elected school board to a constitutional formula. Would this hinder a local authority's ability to manage the affairs of a school district?

The initiative's formulas would be applied uniformly to all California school districts without regard to their many differences in makeup and need. Small districts would have the least flexibility to rearrange functions and finances to comply with the initiative and may be more likely to be hurt by penalties in the measure.

This measure would create new mandates upon school districts, such as management audits and fiscal efficiency reviews. In addition, it would require a new report that links every school district expenditure with "achievement of specific performance outcomes." Is it really necessary to do that every time a district pays a telephone bill or buys new brooms for the janitors?

Would the measure undermine efforts to establish accountability standards by designating to the 5 percent any expenditures for student, teacher, and program evaluation, remediation and removal of personnel, and test development and reporting?

Fiscal Impacts:
Impacts on schools: According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, this measure would require between $500 million and $700 million in school funding to be redirected from what the initiative defines as administrative functions to areas defined as direct services to pupils, school site employees, and school facilities. Districts would incur new costs of $11 million to $22 million every five years to produce required reports and audits.

This measure would not change overall school spending because Proposition 98 requires a specific funding amount each year for K-14 schools. Within the Proposition 98 amounts, however, spending would shift from administrative categories to the other categories mentioned above.
Impacts on taxpayers: This measure may diminish the quality of school services received by taxpayers, because many districts would need to shift administrative costs to local school sites, possibly resulting in higher costs which would leave fewer dollars for direct classroom education. Taxpayers would receive some benefit from increased focus on results and from performance audits, but those benefits may not outweigh the costs imposed by the measure.

Support Arguments:
This measure would put the money where the kids are and cut funding for bureaucrats.

The national average for administrative costs is 4.8 percent, but California spends twice that amount.

Opponents are spreading myths because they have a vested interest in the status quo.

Support arguments signed by: Richard Riordan, mayor, city of Los Angeles; U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein; Tyrone Vahedi; Congressman Howard Berman, and Steven Soboroff, chairman, Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles.

Opposition Arguments:
The proposal would shift money from hundreds of schools to Los Angeles, because larger districts would have the capacity to adapt their budgets to comply while smaller ones would not.

If implemented today, 90 percent of school districts would lose $200 per child.

The measure allows for no exceptions to the 5 percent limit, not even for natural disasters.

Opposition arguments signed by: James Livingston, president, California Association of Suburban School Districts; Alvin Sandrini, president, Small School Districts' Association; Rhoda Coleman, California Teacher of the Year, 1995; Rosaline Turnbull, president, California State PTA; Stephen Bock, California Teacher of the Year, 1997, and Rusty Herod, president, California School Employees Association.


Performance audits, efficiency reviews, and tracking administrative spending would be beneficial, but would the benefits outweigh the costs of complying with the 5 percent limit?

Proposition 224
Title: State-Funded Design and Engineering Services. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Sponsor: Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG), the union representing some 10,000 state Department of Transportation (Caltrans) engineers.

Summary: The initiative establishes a new process for determining who should perform engineering, architectural and related services involved in the construction and maintenance of public structures in California.

Major Provisions:

  • Requires the State Controller to approve or disapprove all state design contracts.
  • Requires the State Controller to approve or disapprove all design contracts for local public entities involved with state agencies or where state funding is involved.
  • Changes the current system for selecting private design contracts.
  • Creates a new liability for contractors performing public-sector work.

Background:
The engineers' union has, for the past two decades, been locked in a struggle with Caltrans over the contracting out of engineering and design work at the agency. Efforts under first the Deukmejian Administration, then the Wilson Administration to contract for design work culminated in legislation (SB 1417 Bergeson, 1992), permitting such contracts where timeliness or short-term peaks, or the need for a specialty, are at issue. A recent appellate court finding confirmed the state's right to enter into such contracts.

In 1993, the magnitude of contracted out design work amounted to about 20 percent to 25 percent of all Caltrans engineering posi-tions, or equal to about $150 million of work, according to a Stanford Research Institute study commissioned by the Legislature.

Proposition 224 is PECG's response to this situation; the union is assessing members $15 per month to pay for the initiative effort.

Policy Considerations:
Will the approval process involving the State Controller result in delays - and additional costs - in the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure?

Should a single official, elected by popular vote, be charged with deciding whether design work worth perhaps billions of dollars will be performed in the public or private sector?

The initiative appears to compel the Controller, in comparing costs between Caltrans and engineering firms, to limit state costs to be used in the public vs. private comparisons. Is this the case, and if so, will the private sector be able to compete for design projects?

Is cost comparison by itself an adequate standard by which to determine who shall provide design work?

Should the process for determining who performs any public function, such as design work, be determined by initiative?

Fiscal Impact:
State Government: The cost of the contract review in the initiative is estimated by the Legislative Analyst's Office at $1 million annually. The analyst said that unknown savings or costs for state and local governments could result from the initiative.

Support Arguments:
The cost of contracting out highway engineering is higher than in-house costs, according to a study conducted by the University of California at Berkeley.

Local governments, such as Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Alameda, Fresno, San Diego, and Santa Barbara counties, which now contract with Caltrans for engineering services, have saved millions of dollars by having Caltrans do the work.

The initiative would hold private companies financially liable for mistakes in the design and construction of public facilities.

Support arguments signed by: Don Brown, president, California Organization of Police & Sheriffs (COPS); Ben Hudnall, business manager, Engineers & Scientists of California; Wood Allshouse, president, CDF Firefighters; Arthur Duffy, chairman, Taxpayers for Competitive Bidding; Lois Wellington, president, Congress of California Seniors; Edmundo Lopez, president, Hispanic Contractors Association, and Sally Reed Impastato.

Opposition Arguments:
Because of the unavoidable bottleneck in the Controller's Office, vital projects throughout the state, including every new school, hospital, or road, could be delayed.

Taxpayers will lose if Caltrans, whose overhead costs for projects are already more than twice as much as the national average, is put in charge of design work on all public projects.

The initiative stacks the deck against private firms which now design, on a competitive basis, the vast majority of public structures in California.

Opposition arguments signed by: Professor Paul Fratessa, former chair, Seismic Safety Commission; Allan Zaremberg, president, California Chamber of Commerce; Jane Armstrong, state chairman, Alliance of California Taxpayers and Involved Voters; Larry McCarthy, president, California Taxpayers' Association; Loring Wyllie, Jr., past president, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and Ron Bates, president, League of California Cities.


Should a single official, elected by popular vote, be charged with deciding whether design work worth perhaps billions of dollars will be performed in the public or private sector?

Proposition 225
Title: Limiting Congressional Terms. Proposed U.S. Constitutional Amendment. Initiative Statute.

Sponsor: David Alessio.

Major Provisions:

  • Declares that the official position of the People of the State of California is that its elected officials should vote to help enact an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting congressional terms.
  • The amendment would limit U.S. Senators to two terms and House of Representatives members to three terms.
  • Requires the California Legislature and state and federal legislators from California to use their powers to pass the amendment.
  • All candidates for federal or state legislative office who do not provide required support must be identified as non-supporters on ballot.

Background:
California has term limits on state legislators and constitutional officers. These limits have recently been upheld by a federal appeals court, and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider an appeal.

This measure would not enact term limits, but would attempt to encourage state legislators, members of Congress and senators to pass a U.S. constitutional amendment. However, the proponents acknowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated measures like Proposition 225 in other states, and they have discontinued advocating passage of this measure.

Fiscal Impact:
State Government: According to the Legislative Analyst, this measure would have unknown, but possibly significant, annual costs for the Secretary of State's review activities.
Local Government: This measure would also result in unknown, but probably minor, costs to counties.
Taxpayers: No direct fiscal impact.

Support Argument:
The approach embodied in Proposition 225 has been invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court, and this measure is no longer advocated by its proponents.

However, nothing is more important to the future of our country than returning Congress to the citizen legislature designed by our Founders. (Supporters said they would pursue a "constitutional" measure for the November ballot.)

Support argument signed by: Sally Reed Impastato.

Opposition Arguments:
Term limits are pure folly. Under term limits, a new group in Congress would be elected more beholden to the corporations and lobbyists than to the general citizenry.

Voters don't need term limits to "throw the bums out."

Power brokers will fill the decision-making vacuum. The California Legislature has been taken over by narrow special interests because of term limits. The same mistake should not be made with Congress.

Opposition arguments signed by: Mark Whisler, president, Sacramento City Taxpayers' Rights League.


However, the proponents acknowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated measures like Proposition 225 in other states, and they have discontinued advocating passage of this measure.

Proposition 226
Title: Political Contributions by Employees, Union Members, Foreign Entities. Initiative Statute.

Sponsor: Mark W. Bucher, James M. Righeimer and Frank L. Ury, California Foundation for Campaign Reform.

Major Provisions:

  • Prohibits labor unions from expending funds collected from any union member or non-member for political contributions or expenditures unless the union has written permission annually from the member or non-member.
  • Prohibits employers from expending funds collected from any employee for political contributions or expenditures unless the employer has written permission annually from the employee.
  • Prohibits political contributions from foreign interests, except those for ballot measure campaigns.
  • Prohibits actions by public officials or candidates to reward or punish employees for their political contributions or lack of contributions.
  • Prohibits private employers from rewarding or punishing employees for their political contributions or lack of contributions.
  • Prohibits employers from providing an increase of pay or some other benefit to an employee with the intention that the employee make political contributions with the money.
  • The measure would take effect on July 1, 1998.

Background:
The sponsors of this measure are following a strategy used in Washington state. Similar language was included as part of a comprehensive campaign finance package in Washington's Initiative 134 in 1992, which passed with more than 70 percent of the vote.

Policy Considerations:
This measure would mostly affect unions, including unions of public employees. Would this measure significantly weaken influence of the "spending lobby" on public policy and public finance?

Would this measure be judged unconstitutional if it limits an organization's ability to engage in political "free speech?"

Fiscal Impact:
State Government: Unknown, but not major, costs to enforce the measure's provision.
Local Government: No direct fiscal impact.
Taxpayers: No direct fiscal impact.

Support Arguments:
It is wrong to take money from union-member paychecks without consent and spend this money in support of political candidates and issues that are opposed by rank-and-file membership. This measure will protect worker paychecks and rights.

Unless changes are made, union bosses, not individual union members, will decide how members' money is spent. Union leaders fear having to seek members' consent to spend members' money.

Union members overwhelmingly supported "three strikes" legislation for habitual criminals; union leaders spend members' money to oppose three strikes.

This measure will also prevent foreign money from buying political influence.

The campaign to defeat this measure will be financed by union members who overwhelmingly support it.

Support arguments signed by: Governor Pete Wilson; Elizabeth Lee, member, California Teachers' Association; Robert Eisenbeisz, member, United Electrical Workers, Local 99; Mark Bucher, president, California Foundation for Campaign Reform; Linda Hunt, member, California Nurses Association, and Roger Hughes, member, California Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.

Opposition Arguments:
This measure is an attack on unions and employee organizations; it does not reduce foreign contributions, existing law does that.

This measure is funded by out-of-state interests to protect big business.

The State Controller estimates it will cost millions of dollars to enforce.

Corporate interests contribute more for political purposes than do employee organizations. Union members typically give one or two dollars monthly.

Opposition arguments signed by: Don Brown, president, California Organization of Police and Sheriffs; Lois Wellington, president, Congress of California Seniors, and Kit Costello, registered nurse and president, California Nurses Association.


This measure would mostly affect unions, including unions of public employees. Would this measure significantly weaken influence of the "spending lobby" on public policy and public finance?

Proposition 227
Title:
English Language in Public Schools. Initiative Statute.

Sponsor: Ron K. Unz and Gloria Matta Tuchman.

Major Provisions:

  • Requires all public school instruction to be conducted in English.
  • Some waivers are allowed at parents' request.
  • Provides for placement in special English immersion programs, not normally exceeding one year, for limited English proficient students.
  • Appropriates $50 million a year for 10 years to fund courses for individuals who volunteer to be English tutors for children.

Background:
About 1.4 million children, or 25 percent of all California school children, are classified as not proficient in English. Most of those children (80 percent) speak Spanish, but other major languages include Vietnamese, Hmong and Cantonese. Some 45 additional languages are used in California schools. Bilingual education has been practiced in California for about 30 years.

The initiative's sponsors say about $300 million a year is spent on bilingual education in California, but EdSource, a California education research group, says the total amount is difficult to determine because of the "multiplicity of sources."

The initiative's sponsors say about 5 percent of students in bilingual education are moved into mainstream English instruction each year.

Surveys show that a substantial majority of immigrant parents want their children to learn English as soon as possible and that learning English is viewed as one of the most important determinants of economic success.

Policy Considerations:
Initiative proponents believe that the best way to provide a good education for children from non-English speaking families is to immerse them in English instruction immediately and then place them in mainstream classes. Initiative proponents claim that the current system is failing 95 percent of the students by only moving 5 percent of them into mainstream classes each year.

Opponents agree that learning English is one of the most important factors in a child's success, but they desire to continue bilingual education. They believe that the approach used in this initiative would deprive students of quality education in non-language skills, such as math, science, history and civics. They advocate continuing foreign language instruction to ensure that children understand these kinds of subjects.

Fiscal Impact:
State Government: Probably no change in state spending on K-12 education. The $50 million appropriation would be part of Proposition 98 school funding.
Local Government: Potential savings to local school districts by reducing expenditures on bilingual education.
Taxpayers: Because local school funding is obtained primarily through the property tax, which is fixed, any reduction in local school costs probably will not result in taxpayer savings. However, local savings could be used to enhance the quality of other school programs.

Support Arguments:
Bilingual education has failed to teach immigrant children to read and write English. Only 6.7 percent of limited-English students in California learned enough English to be moved into mainstream classes last year.

Latino immigrant children are the principal victims with the lowest test scores and highest dropout rates.

Learning a new language is easier for young children if immersed in that language. Public schools need to teach immigrant children English.

Children who fail to learn to speak, read and write English will be less successful economically and socially.

Support arguments signed by: Alice Callaghan, director, Las Familias del Pueblo; Ron Unz, chairman, English for the Children; Fernando Vega, past member, Redwood City School Board, and Jaime Escalante, former East Los Angeles calculus teacher portrayed in the film "Stand and Deliver."

Opposition Arguments:
This measure imposes an untested method of teaching English on every school district in California, and takes away parental rights to choose what is best for their children.

Under the proposition, teachers can be sued personally for teaching in the children's language to help them learn English. It outlaws the best of local programs for teaching English.

School districts, teachers and parents should decide on the best approaches to teach English to immigrant children.

Opposition arguments signed by: John D'Amelio, president, California School Boards Association; Mary Bergan, president, California Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO; Jennifer Looney, president, Association of California School Administrators, and Lois Tinson, president, California Teachers Association.

The initiative's sponsors say about $300 million a year is spent on bilingual education in California, but EdSource, a California education research group, says the total amount is difficult to determine because of the "multiplicity of sources."