Public policy update: SVCF supports increased school funding, affirmative action measures

Public policy update: SVCF supports increased school funding, affirmative action measures

This November, Californians can begin to dismantle the structures that have protected our system of racial injustice. Two propositions on the November ballot can help us do exactly what our community is asking for: prioritize our schools and communities, and support affirmative action in public employment, public education and public contracting.

Propositions 15 and 16 are both on the ballot for the November 3, 2020, general election. Each ballot proposition would amend the California Constitution and require a simple majority of the votes cast to pass.

Proposition 15: Schools & Communities First

Schools & Communities First is a constitutional amendment that would raise an estimated $12 billion annually for California’s K-12 schools, community colleges and local services by changing a longstanding commercial property tax loophole that benefits a small proportion of older corporations with large footprints. This measure was developed by a broad-based coalition (Million Voters Project), and we believe it is essential to California’s post-COVID-19 recovery. It will provide revenue for local cities, counties and schools — which are now facing massive demands for increased services and deep budget cuts — while providing protection for all residential properties and small businesses.

The measure officially qualified for the ballot on May 29, with over 1.7 million signatures, almost twice the required number. This is the most signatures ever submitted for a ballot initiative.

SVCF has worked for four years on this initiative, engaging other philanthropic partners and funding many of the organizations involved in the coalition, as well as the signature collection, research content and campaign.

SVCF, with other philanthropic partners, has commissioned four policy briefs that will help inform the community about the effects of Prop 15: 1) Impact on Infrastructure and Education, 2) Impact on Land Use/Housing, 3) Equity Considerations and 4) Implementation Costs.

Proposition 16: Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment

Proposition 16 asks California voters to repeal 1996's Proposition 209. Proposition 209 prohibits the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of racesexcolorethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting. Under Prop. 209, things like race and socio-economic class could not be considered. If Prop. 16 passes, state and local governments, public universities and other political subdivisions and public entities will be able to consider such factors as race and socio-economic class; the intent is that Blacks, Latinos and other under-represented groups, along with companies owned by under-represented groups, will have more equitable access to these institutions.

The proposed state constitutional amendment was first introduced as California Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (ACA 5) by Assemblymembers Shirley WeberMike Gipson and Miguel Santiago on January 18, 2019. ACA 5 passed the California State Assembly on June 10, 2020, and was approved by the California State Senate on June 24. It now goes to the voters for approval. Because it is a proposed constitutional amendment, it must appear as a November 2020 ballot proposition asking voters to repeal Proposition 209's provisions.

SVCF has supported the campaigns to pass both propositions and is engaging other philanthropic partners.

Join us in the movement to pass these two propositions. Let’s create a California that is more just and more equitable.

If you have any questions, please contact Gina Dalma, Executive Vice President, Community Action, Policy & Strategy, at gddalma@siliconvalleycf.org.