In the coming weeks, California voters will hear many arguments for and against state propositions. I would like to share my personal reasons for supporting the passage of what I feel is one of the most important: Proposition 30.

After serving on the Bakersfield City School District board of trustees for the last four years -- during which more than $20 billion in cuts have been made to public education in California -- I have learned the harsh reality of dealing with decreased funding to schools.

I know that when programs are cut, it is nearly impossible to reinstate them; when school sites are closed, they never reopen; when classified positions are eliminated, they are not replaced; when teachers are laid off, class sizes increase. In every instance, the education of children is impacted negatively and permanently.

Prop. 30 is the only initiative that will prevent more than $6 billion in midyear trigger cuts to education. The Bakersfield City School District's share of those cuts will be $12 million and it will be imperative for the district to reduce services. Many districts have no reserves and will have no option other than to cut the number of school days. At a time when research recommends a longer school year, this is highly detrimental to students' academic achievement.

I urge voters to pass Prop. 30 for the sake of our students; to ensure the quality of their educational programs; to maintain their educational opportunities; and to preserve their dreams for a better future.

Bill McDougle