Irvine schools’ measure to be on November ballot
By KIALI WONG
July 25, 2012 | OC Register
IRVINE – A school-funding initiative to increase the city’s support of Irvine schools to $4 million annually will be on the November ballot.
The City Council Tuesday night approved the ballot measure, The Irvine Support Our Schools Initiative of 2012, to more than double the $1.5 million in annual support that Irvine already gives to area schools. It will cost the city $8,500 to add the measure to the ballot.
The county’s Registrar of Voters used random sampling to calculate that 14,273 signatures were valid.
The decision to put the initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot was not automatic. The council had two other options, and one of those other options drew councilmen Steven Choi and Jeffrey Lalloway’s support Tuesday night.
They voted for option A, which would have seen the council immediately adopt the initiative and introduce it for first reading. A second reading of the initiative would have followed on Aug. 14, and the ordinance would have gone into effect 30 days later.Choi said the option would save effort and expense.
“I think we are more than ready and willing to adopt option A as-is exactly, honoring 18,000 people who put their signatures on (the initiative),” Choi said.
But Councilman Larry Agran emphasized that those signatures represented an effort to qualify the initiative for the ballot. People who signed had conveyed their hope to later vote upon the measure in November, Agran said.
“They absolutely reserved the right to vote against it if that was their wish,” Agran said. “And many, many people signed on that basis.”
“Support Our Schools” supporter Henry Vandermeir, who said getting signatures was “like pulling teeth,” spoke against option A.
“If you adopt this, you are basically usurping the voters’ right to review and vote on this on their own,” Vandermeir said to the council.
Lalloway said he believed voters were entitled to an alternative ballot measure.
“I tried to get an alternative ballot measure placed before the voters — an alternative to allow the experts, which is the Irvine Unified School District, to determine where the money should go,” Lalloway said.
But an alternative didn’t materialize when Lalloway and Choi emerged as the only council members in support.
Earmarks were another cause of contention with the initiative, which includes provisions such as $500,000 for instructional assistants and $200,000 for school resource officers.
Agran said he didn’t think of them as earmarks.
“I think of them as where we’re targeting the funds,” Agran said after the meeting. “And I think of those specifics as landmarks of accountability.”
If approved in November, the initiative would add $2.5 million to the $1.5 million that the city already gives in annual support for schools.
The Educational Partnership Fund would receive this amount in fiscal years 2013,2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.
For more information on the initiative, go to sosirvine.com or contact the city clerk’s office to request materials.
Read the article at its source here: <a href=”http://www.ocregister.com/news/initiative-365380-ballot-support.html“>www.ocregister.com/news/initiative-365380-ballot-support.html</a>.