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Statewide Efforts To Pass School Parcel Tax Move Forward

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Aired 2/8/10

Education advocates in California are moving forward with efforts to lower the threshold to pass a parcel tax for schools.

— Education advocates in California are moving forward with efforts to lower the threshold in the legislature to pass a parcel tax for schools.

One of the ideas to lower the threshold is for a constitutional amendment in the State Legislature. The other is an initiative on the November ballot.

A parcel tax has become a popular measure for school districts during tough budget times because all the money levied goes directly to the districts. School officials can use the money to pay for teacher salaries, programs, books and supplies.

Both efforts would lower the threshold for the passage of a parcel tax to 55 percent. Currently it takes a two-thirds vote to pass a parcel tax.

The California State PTA is mobilizing its nearly one million members to support the ballot initiative. Debbie Look is the legislative director for the state PTA. She says parents want to send their tax dollars to local schools.

“What they really want is a good school in their neighborhood,” Look said. “They're prepared to step up and work with the teachers, principals and the school boards to do what it takes to improve education for their children.”

Look believes there is enough support among California parents to lower the threshold.

Currently, the San Diego Unified School District, the second largest school districts in the state, is exploring whether there's enough voter support for a parcel tax in November. They're hoping for a $98 yearly fee spread out over five years.

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