OAKLAND — The "Outstanding Teachers for All Oakland Students" parcel tax measure fell short of the two-thirds approval needed for it to pass, receiving 61 percent of the vote.
If passed, the $120 annual tax would have generated more than $10 million a year for Oakland teachers' salaries in addition to money for the city's public, independently run charter schools, which educate about 8,000 Oakland public school children. But Measure N received intense opposition from the start — even from the teachers union, whose members would benefit from it.
"I think there are a lot of people who understand that we need to recruit and retain teachers, but we have to find a new way," Betty Olson-Jones, the teachers union president said, after learning about the early numbers.
Proponents of the tax noted that the starting salary for Oakland teachers, at $39,000, is more than $10,000 lower than that of the San Francisco public schools and is significantly lower than the pay in most nearby school districts.
Opponents say the tax was hastily put through by State Superintendent Jack O'Connell, whose appointee, Vincent Matthews, still oversees the district's finances in the aftermath of the 2003 bailout loan and state takeover. They say the tax measure excludes nonteaching school employees, such as secretaries and custodians. Charter school opponents also took issue with the fact that 15 percent of the tax was earmarked for charter schools.