Should we raise taxes to help fund our schools? That's the question voters will answer by checking yes or no on Propositions 30 and 38 come election day. But what does a yes or no vote mean on each of these ballot measures?
"We're talking about a crisis in education," said Bill McDougle, President for the Bakersfield City School District Board. "We're talking about a major amount of cut."
Proposition 30 would raise the state sales tax by .25 percent to 7.5 percent for the next 4 years.
"We are already number one on sales taxes," said Adrian Moore, Vice President of Policy for the Reason Foundation, a libertarian research organization based out of Los Angeles.
Prop 30 would also raise income taxes for those earning more than $250,000 per year for 7 years. This would raise an estimated 6 billion dollars each year according to Legal Analyst's Office.
"If it does not pass that means we are going to lose about $18 million in funding," said John Teves, spokesperson for the Kern High School District.
But does that mean for the average Californian's wallet?
"You are going to pay a little bit more on everything that isn't food pretty much," said Moore.
A 100 dollars in clothes will cost you an extra 25 cents and a $35,000 car will cost you an extra $87.50 in sales taxes. Governor Jerry Brown said 100 percent of these funds would go to schools, most to K-12 education and 11 percent of the $6 billion to community colleges but opponents are skeptical.
"If we look in the past, what we see is what Sacramento will do is they'll take that $6 billion from the new tax and they'll pull $6 billion out of their property tax money or whatever, to spend on other things," said Moore.
Meaning according to Moore there's no guarantee this money would go to schools.
"Prop 30 is a general tax increase that in this year's budget is dedicated to education but going forward is really just a general tax increase," said Moore.
Opponents also argue there's no accountability for Prop 30 money meaning schools can spend the money however they like unlike it's competing Prop 38.
"Prop 38 is much more crafted to make sure the money it's raising is going to education no matter what," said Moore.
Prop 38 would raise income taxes for everyone for the next 12 years by .4 to 2.2 percent, depending on your income.
For someone who makes $30,000 a year, that's an extra $94 dollars a year in state income tax. For an income of $75,000 that's an extra $307 For a millionaire, that's an extra $77,000 in state income taxes annually. This would raise $10 billion dollars a year that will go towards K-12 schools, early childhood education, and state debt. Most schools however are against Prop 38 because they say it's an income tax that doesn't give schools money this year that would force cuts in 2012.
"It's been my experience that when cuts are made it's very difficult to bring those cuts back in fact it's more expensive," said McDougle.
If both propositions pass the one with the most votes will win. But it's up to the voters to decide stop cuts to education or stop cuts to their own piggy bank.
What's expected to happen if propositions 30 and 38 fail?
"If Proposition 30 does not pass our district will lose $12 million dollars in state funding which is about 5 percent of our budget," said McDougle.
The spokesman for Kern High School District said they would also loose money, about $18 million a year if Proposition 30 fails.
Both districts say they are planning for the propositions to fail and are ready to use their reserves.
"We could use our reserves for three years but after that we would be in dire straits," said McDougle.
"We've got two or three more years where we can try and make ends meet with reserves until we really have to make some really drastic cuts," said Teves. Per district policy the Kern High School District is not supporting either proposition.
Local law enforcement said Proposition 30 would also affect area jails. Last year the Kern County Sheriff's Department got $10 million to handle extra inmates because of realignment. A yes vote on Prop 30 makes that funding available every year due to a constitutional amendment. A no vote leaves no guarantee.
"$10 million took us a long way it got us jail beds a virtual jail with people on several different types of programs and if those don't exist, I don't know what we do with those people," said Sheriff Donny Youngblood of the Kern County Sheriff's Department.
However opponents accuse supporters of these props of threatening schools and public safety to tug on voters heartstrings.
"This is a popular political ploy that if you want to raise taxes you threaten education and public safety," said Moore.
Opponents also said a yes vote on these propositions doesn't mean the money will go to education because of loopholes.
"The law of each of these propositions guarantees that those dollars do go to education but the other $30 billion that goes into the education budget or more is not protected."
Some school officials however say they trust Governor Jerry Brown to make sure any new revenue from these taxes goes to education.
"I know some people say he's holding education hostage but I think it's just I think its what they have to do in order to fund education," said McDougle.