The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education voted Tuesday night to place a parcel tax on the November ballot to replace funds no longer being provided by the state of California.
If approved by voters, a $98 annual assessment will be imposed on single-family homes, $60 per unit of multi-family housing and $450 on commercial and industrial properties. There would be exceptions for low-income seniors.
District officials project the parcel tax would raise $58 million annually, an amount far lower than a projected $127 million shortfall projected for the 2011-12 budget.
Teachers, parents and community leaders addressed the school board Tuesday night.
“Without this emergency parcel tax initiative which amounts to a little more than 25 cents a day for a single family home, we are going to see major cuts in music, arts, athletics,” said proponent Michelle Huffaker.
Opponents like anti-labor activist Eric Christen said, “This is clearly not a board that deserves one more dime of tax payer dollars because it has demonstrated it is incapable of governing that money effectively.”
The proposal to place the measure on the ballot passed 4-0.
The parcel tax money will provide $150 per student to be spent at the individual school level, would help avoid teacher layoffs and maintain classroom sizes, according to proponents.
Most speakers supported placing the measure on the ballot, and passing it as a way to gain an avenue of local funding of education.
Political experts say getting the two-thirds vote to pass the measure will be challenging, especially in a bad economy.
Critics also say the school board hasn’t pushed its labor unions hard enough for cuts.