If Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax hikes do not pass, the Murrieta Valley Unified School District could face a $19-million shortfall, a school district official said Thursday.
"It's safe to say that before his budget proposal, we had about an $11-million shortfall," said Stacy Coleman, Murrieta Valley Unified assistant superintendent of business services. "If his tax increase passes it's $11 million; if it doesn't pass it will be a $19-million problem."
The governor in December proposed a statewide half-cent sales tax increase for four years and a 1- to 2-percent tax hike for Californians who earn more than $250,000 a year.
Voters could be asked to vote on the proposed ballot initiative in the November general election.
Brown lobbied for support of his initiative Thursday in San Diego. Brown said if voters don't support a proposed November ballot initiative to raise taxes—the state will cut $5.4 billion from its budget, which could mean a school year with three fewer weeks.
"We need to get a consistent flow of funding to the schools. Of course, to get that money we're going to ask you to support the temporary tax because that's completely for the schools," said the governor of a state looking to close a $9.2 billion deficit. "If we don't get that $6 billion, we're going to cut—you better believe it. It's not a threat. I'm just telling you it's just the way it is. Education is a bigger part of the budget—it can not be ignored."
Unsure of what its 2012-2013 state revenue will be, Murrieta Valley Unified has asked its labor unions to negotiate salaries. The initial contract proposals were approved by the school board in its meeting Thursday night.
Coleman and members of the school board attended a workshop in Orange County this week in an effort to better understand the governor's January budget proposal.
The governor's proposed education budget for 2012-2013 assumes passage of the tax hikes.
"It is a very confusing budget," Coleman said. "Even though we got a lot of information, there are still so many unknowns."
Hoa Quách of Poway Patch contributed to this report.