Print this Article

Local Voters Approve 14 School Parcel Tax Measures, but Reject 7 Others

By Jeff Hudson - November 8, 2012

California voters approved 14 school parcel tax measures on Tuesday – including a few in Southern California, where school districts have often struggled to get such measures approved in the past.

But seven other school parcel tax measures failed – including a few in coastal Northern California counties that have generally supported such efforts in the past.

Parcel tax measures need a two-thirds majority (66.7 percent-plus) for approval – and two-thirds is always a tall mountain to climb in electoral terms. But the following parcel tax campaigns were successful:

--Arcata Elementary District (Humboldt County), Measure E. $49/year for five years. Yes – 77.32 percent.

--Berryessa Union School District (Santa Clara County), Measure C. $79/year for eight years. Yes – 78.81 percent.

--Davis Joint Unified (Yolo County), Measure E. $204/year for four years. Yes – 68.9 percent. Measure E also contained a “kicker” clause that would have generated up to an additional $242/year in the event that Prop. 30 failed at the statewide level – but that point is moot, given California voters’ approval of Prop. 30 on Tuesday.

A local anti-tax activist has challenged the legality of the “kicker” in federal court, and plans to pursue the case regardless of the election’s outcome. Davis voters have been approving local school parcel tax measures supplementing school district income since 1984.

--Little Lake City School District (Los Angeles County), Measure TT. $48/year for two years. Yes – 74.09 percent.

--Local Classrooms Funding Authority (Los Angeles County), Measure CL. 2 cents/square foot (residential). Yes – 69.49 percent.

--Martinez Unified (Contra Costa County), Measure C. $50/year for five years. Yes – 67.73 percent.

--Mill Valley Schools (Marin County), Measure B. $196/year for eight years. Yes – 70.42 percent.

--Santa Barbara Unified, elementary (Santa Barbara County), Measure A. $48/year for four years. Yes – 68.57 percent.

--Santa Barbara Unified, high school (Santa Barbara County), Measure B. $45/year for four years. Yes – 69.57 percent.

--Sebastopol Unified (Sonoma County), Measure O. $76/year for eight years. Yes – 71.4 percent.

--Shoreline Unified (Marin/Sonoma Counties), Measure C. $184.70/year for eight years. Yes – 70.9 percent.

--Ventura Unified (Ventura County), Measure Q. $59/year for four years. Yes – 67.13 percent.

--West Contra Costa Unified (Contra Costa County), Measure G. 7.2 cents/square foot. Yes – 74.65 percent.

--West Sonoma County Union High School District (Sonoma County), Measure K. $48/year for eight years. Yes – 72.3 percent.

Overall, school parcel tax measures generally fared well in coastal counties – particularly in Northern California, in university towns, and in affluent suburbs (which tend to have a high percentage of college educated voters and parents).

The following parcel tax proposals did not achieve the two-thirds threshold required for approval:

--Fort Ross Elementary (Sonoma County), Measure L. $48/parcel for eight years. Yes – 65.4 percent. (There were fewer than 300 votes cast in this very small district.)

--Mohave Union (Kern County), Measure N. $42/year. Yes – 50.4 percent.

--Pacific Grove Unified (Monterey County), Measure A. $65/year for five years. Yes – 65.05 percent.

--Pleasant Ridge Union (Nevada County), Measure K. $92/year. Yes – 36.68 percent.

--San Leandro Unified (Alameda County), Measure L. $39/year for five years. Yes – 65.38 percent.

--Three Rivers Schools (Tulare County), Measure J. $60/year. Yes – 61.61 percent.

--Westside Union (Los Angeles County), Measure WP. $96/year for four years. Yes – 53.61 percent.

The unsuccessful measures in Fort Ross, Pacific Grove, San Leandro and Three Rivers were all over 60 percent approval, and would have been victorious if the threshold for parcel tax approval was 55 percent (which is the threshold for school facility bond measures).

Editor's Note:  Jeff Hudson is the editor of EdBrief and an award-winning education reporter and writer in print, radio and television media.