Schools depend on bond measures, parcel tax

October 29, 2008 5:15:21 PM PDT
Teachers and parents rallied in Campbell Wednesday, trying to convince voters to support Measure R, which would renew a current $85 monthly parcel tax.

"It's been a real positive for our district because we have been able to hire more teachers, we have been able to reduce class sizes and we have been able to keep programs like art, which I teach, as well as music and drama, things that normally get cut first," Vincent Nicoletta of the Campbell High School Teachers Association said.

In San Jose, Oak Grove School District has a $125 million bond measure on the ballot to finance new construction.

"I think it's going to be hard for people because everyone is struggling as it is right now, with finances, so adding any more taxes, it's ridiculous," district resident Jennifer Davis said.

There are 13 educational parcel taxes on the ballot in the Bay Area. In order to pass, each needs the support of more than 66 percent of voters.

There are also seven school bond measures, which only require the support of 55 percent of voters.

The current hard economic times are likely to have an impact on the way people vote, but a high voter turnout may help some of these measures pass, especially if those who turn out on Election Day are young voters.

"If that happens, the parcel tax might actually stand a better chance because young people are less likely to own property themselves, so they feel like it's not going to affect them and they are closer to being in school so they may be sympathetic to the education cause," San Jose State University political science professor Melinda Jackson said.

Many districts are more dependent than usual on the ballot measures because of the downturn in the economy. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has already warned of a budget shortfall in California.


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