SANTA CRUZ -- The Santa Cruz City Schools board meeting Wednesday erupted with cheers and applause when the district's business chief, Alvaro Meza, was introduced to talk about the passage of Proposition 30 and its impact on schools.
Proposition 30 -- Gov. Jerry Brown's temporary increase on sales taxes and those making more than $250,000 a year -- saved City Schools from chopping $3 million from its annual budget and allows the 7,000-student district to offer a full 180-day school year.
The proposition passed statewide 54 percent to 46 percent.
"It was close and it didn't look good at one point," Meza said.
Californians being willing to pay higher taxes during a precarious economy proved the importance of public education, Meza said.
The governor said Prop. 30's passage stops the $6 billion in K-12 education cuts that would have happened statewide if it had failed.
While the proposition's passage provided life support for struggling schools, which have weathered ongoing cuts from the state the past five years due to a weak economy, it's not a cure-all, Meza said.
"It did not add revenue; it stopped the bleeding," he said. "The economy is still sluggish, still fragile."
The Santa Cruz district could see a $2.1 million reduction in federal funds when the tax cuts initiated by former President George W. Bush expire, according to Meza.
The district has had good fortune when asking local residents to
approve higher property taxes in the past decade to supplement state funding.
In June, City Schools won voter approval for the renewal of two parcel taxes -- Measure I and Measure J -- that fund arts and music programs, as well as librarian and teacher retention.
Measure I increased the annual tax on all parcels in the high school district from $28 to $38, and Measure J increased the tax on parcels in the elementary district from $70 to $85.
Together, they generate approximately $2.5 million annually for the district.
The district has another tax of $105 per parcel in the city, which was renewed for nine years in 2008.
In other action, a farewell was said to longtime Trustee John Collins, who will step down after the Dec. 12 meeting.
Collins, who has served on the board for 10 years and works as an executive vice president of Goodwill Industries, decided not to seek re-election on Nov. 6.
"I've tried to be a pragmatist," he said Wednesday. "I did this for the kids."
Follow Sentinel reporter Shanna McCord on Twitter at Twitter.com/scnewsmom ___
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