Three Alameda County school districts seek voter approval in the June 5 election for property tax increases to help fund ongoing education costs.
After analyzing the tax burden of each proposal, we urge voters to approve Measure B for the Peralta Community College District; Measure G for the Hayward Unified School District; and Measure H for the New Haven Unified School District.
Each measure requires two-thirds voter approval for passage.
We understand that school districts are struggling to balance their budgets. But we also think that voters should understand property owners' total tax liability before casting a ballot.
In addition to the base tax of 1 percent of assessed value, property owners often pay additional school taxes for two purposes: to pay off bonds issued to fund school construction and to fund ongoing education costs through what are called parcel taxes.
In our evaluation of these ballot measures, we looked at the total burden of the two additional taxes.
Measure B would add a flat $48 per parcel to help fund ongoing expenses. The tax would last until 2020. That would increase the district tax burden for the owner of an average home assessed at $317,046 from about $143 to $191 a year.
Measure G would add $58 per parcel for ongoing expenses. The tax would last until 2017. The additional amount would increase the district tax burden for the owner of an average home assessed at $254,222 from about $191 to $249 a year.
Measure B would add a flat $180 per parcel to help fund ongoing expenses. The tax would last until 2016. That would increase the district tax burden for the owner of an average home assessed at $340,146 from about $473 to $653 a year.
We support the New Haven measure with some reservations. The tax burden is hefty. District leaders should understand that we won't look favorably if they seek another hike in the future.
In sum, these are tough times for schools. We support reasonable tax increases, but districts should prudently spend the money on preserving educational opportunities for students. Voters should not think that simply casting one's ballot is the end of things. We believe district residents should pass these taxes and then watch carefully to ensure that the revenues are spent wisely.