With more than 100 bonds and parcel taxes on the California ballot this November 6th—not to mention the competing school funding measures, Props. 30 and 38—voters have a lot to of education funding issues to consider this election day. To find out what’s driving the push for local school tax measures, KQED’s Cy Musiker interviewed EdSource Today editor John Fensterwald.
As Fensterwald explains, passage of Parcel taxes and school bond measures in California is not easy. Parcel taxes require a two-third majority and most school bonds require a 55 percent majority for passage. Even so, historically about 80 percent of the school construction bonds and 60 percent of the parcel taxes have passed, and those percentages are even higher so far in 2012. But Fensterwald is quick to point out that these statistics cannot be taken to represent the entire state. Only about ten percent of California school districts have passed a parcel tax, meaning most districts don’t even try.
But why go local? Why not focus on state measures like Props. 30 and 38 to fund schools? Fensterwald suggests that this behavior of favoring local funding over state funding simply indicates that voters want more local control over taxes and school funding and “for whatever reasons, are suspicious of state taxes.”
Listen to the interview or read transcript at School Districts Seek Local Funds to Stem Budget Shortfalls | KQED Public Media for Northern CA.