Today, the Schools & Communities First coalition, which SEIU Local 99 is a part of, will submit more than 1.7 million voter signatures—the most ever submitted in California for a ballot measure—supporting the Schools & Communities First initiative for the November 2020 ballot.
SEIU Local 99 Members and Member Leaders should be proud in collecting 10,153 of those signatures, surpassing our goal of 9,375. “Too many of us experience and see the effects of under-funding in public education on students. Failure to get this on the ballot was not an option,” says SEIU Local 99 President Conrado Guerrero, of our union’s 4-month-long signature collection drive.
Schools & Communities First will reclaim $12 billion a year permanently to invest in things we all value – quality public schools for our children, good public jobs, a safe neighborhood, and a healthy family. The increase in funding will come from closing tax loopholes that have allowed the wealthiest corporations in California to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.
With the COVID-19 outbreak upending the lives of millions of Californians, we are seeing firsthand how important it is to have strong public services. SEIU Local 99 members have been on the front lines during school closures providing meals to students and families, deep-cleaning schools, and providing child care for first-responders. “But, we’re also seeing how important it is to invest and plan for the future,” says Marisol Aguilar, a LAUSD Special Education Assistant who was part of the signature collection effort. “We don’t have enough beds for patients in hospitals, there are not enough masks or other personal protection equipment for health care workers, not every student has access to technology and seniors and other vulnerable groups are among the hardest hit.”
The funding generated from Schools & Communities First will ensure that we can recover from this crisis and move forward to strengthen our hospitals, schools and other public services.
A recent report from the University of Southern California showed that every county in the state stands to benefit from the Schools & Communities First initiative, and polling has shown that the Schools & Communities First initiative is supported by 58% of likely California voters.
Learn more about Schools & Communities First on our campaign page, and if you were part of the effort, give yourself a pat on the back!