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The Improving Classroom Education Act

For Immediate Release: Contact: Andrew Acosta

November 14, 2003 (916) 443-7817

Cell (916) 505-3069

Improving Classroom Education Act Introduced

For November Ballot

The California Teachers Association (CTA) and childrens advocate Rob Reiner today announced the official filing of a new education initiative with the Attorney Generals office. The "Improving Classroom Education Act" will provide a stable funding source that will help improve our states K-12 classrooms and provide statewide access to voluntary universal preschool to all California children the year before they start kindergarten.

The most effective ways to improve education include providing access to quality preschools and sending kids to schools with smaller classes, well-trained teachers and up-to-date textbooks and materials.

"By providing access to universal preschool, our children will be prepared when they enter kindergarten," said CTA President Barbara E. Kerr. "In these uncertain budget times, this initiative will provide resources where they are needed most in the classroom, not on administrative overhead."

"Studies show that children who go to quality preschools do better in reading and math, are more likely to graduate from high school and college and less likely to become a crime statistic," said Rob Reiner. "Yet California ranks in the bottom half of the nation in providing preschool to our 3-and-4-year-olds."

To ensure that the money is spent in the classroom or on preschool, the initiative provides for strict accountability measures, including loss of credential and criminal penalties for those who misuse the money and annual audits that will be available to the public.

The Improving Classroom Education Act will raise more than $3 billion annually for

K-12 schools and $1.5 billion for preschools by increasing the tax rate on commercial property from 1% to 1.55%. It does not raise property taxes on Californias homeowners.

The Improving Classroom Education Act also sets aside 10% of the net revenue of the initiative to provide tax relief that is distributed by a Small Business Tax Relief Funding Authority. This will amount to at least $500 million that will offset any burden on small businesses by eliminating personal property tax for at least for 97% of Californias businesses.

Please find more information about the initiative in the attached "Question and Answer" document.


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