Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The San Diego Unified Board of Education will consider today how much it would tax district residents in order to offset several years of state budget cuts. It’s part of a plan for a new parcel tax.
SAN DIEGO The San Diego Unified School Board voted yesterday to place a parcel tax on the November ballot. Supporters hope the measure will save teaching jobs in San Diego.
San Diego Unified's parcel tax would levy a fee on San Diego residents over the next five years.
If voters approve the measure, single family homes would pay a flat fee of $98 a year. Property owners of apartments and condominium would be charged $60 per unit. And owners of commercial and industrial properties would pay $450.
The tax is expected to pump close to $60 million into the district. That money cannot be touched by Sacramento lawmakers.
San Diego Unified wants to spend the money on teacher and employee salaries, math and science education, and classroom technology.
Bernie Rhinerson, a district spokesman, says San Diego Unified has been hit with more than $400 million in budget cuts over the last four years.
“Our schools are running on shoe string budgets with very limited ability to do any extras at all,” Rhinerson said. “That is why this is so important. It will help us to get through these tough years.”
Opponents of the parcel tax say the district can't be trusted to spend the money wisely. They also call the tax unfair because the flat fee impacts lower income property owners more.
Passing a parcel tax is not easy. It takes a two-thirds vote to pass such a measure. The only large urban school to successfully do that was the San Francisco Unified School District in 2008.