OAKLAND — Voters could see a second parcel tax proposal on the November ballot if school district trustees move forward with a plan they hope will raise $20 million annually and boost salaries for some of the region's lowest paid teachers.
The Oakland Unified School District will hold a special meeting at 8 p.m. Thursday to discuss plans to ask property owners for an extra $195 per year.
At least four of seven school board trustees must back the proposal for it to be included on the November ballot.
The district could face an uphill battle getting widespread support. The City Council will be asking voters to approve a $360-per-parcel tax. That represents a $555 increase if both measures are passed.
The school district's plan would increase salaries for district teachers and support staff, Oakland Unified Superintendent Tony Smith said. That could mean 2,500 teachers and roughly 1,500 additional employees who work on school campuses could see bigger paychecks. How much more is not spelled out in the measure.
Oakland teachers are among the lowest paid in the Bay Area. The starting salary for a first-year teacher in the district is $39,000 and tops out at $73,000. The average is close to $53,000.
"We're committed to changing that," Smith said.
Teachers in the Pleasanton school district, in contrast, are paid an average of $81,928. They are among California's highest-paid teachers and the majority of the schools in the district rank at the top of the state rating system.
Oakland's $195 parcel tax would apply across the board to property owners regardless of whether they own a single-family dwelling or a duplex. There is an exemption for low-income property owners, Oakland Unified spokesman Troy Flint said.
The income cannot be spent on administrative costs and the state can't deduct the revenue from money it provides to the district, he said.
If approved, 80 percent would be used to increase pay for teachers and school personnel employed by Oakland Unified.
Another 15 percent would be used to increase compensation for teachers and school personnel employed by charter schools.
And 5 percent would be used to fund professional development for all new teachers.
The proposal has been more than a year in the making. The last attempt to pass a parcel taxed failed in 2008 because the tax didn't have the support of enough voters. Since then, the district regained control from state-imposed oversight. But this measure also would need to be approved by two-thirds of voters.
The school board meeting will be held at 1025 Second Ave.