California schools chief calls for reform of parcel tax requirements Change would reduce two-thirds approval to 55 percent | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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California schools chief calls for reform of parcel tax requirements Change would reduce two-thirds approval to 55 percent

William Ferchland

The superintendent of California public schools again pushed to lower requirements for voter approval to pass parcel taxes for cash-strapped districts after elections last week.

Jack O’Connell, speaking Friday, referred to the passage of only eight of 22 parcel tax measures for California school districts. Such taxes require two-thirds of voter approval.

O’Connell wants the approval threshold lowered to 55 percent, which, if in effect, would have meant the success of 19 of the 22 measures.



“The majority of voters approved 11 of these measures, in some cases by more than 60 percent, yet the measures failed because of the two-thirds super majority requirement,” O’Connell said. “It’s clear that Californians want to support and improve their local schools. This support is especially critical today when so many of our schools are struggling to make ends meet after four years of budget cuts.”

If the passage rate was 55 percent, Lake Tahoe Unified School District would have received $3.2 million annually from a $60 parcel tax – Measure L – that had exactly 55 percent of voter approval in April.



According to the California Department of Education, two measures are before the state Legislature to lower the passage threshold to 55 percent for parcel taxes. Senator Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, has a proposed a Constitutional amendment, SCA 8, while Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael, has a bill, ACA 7, the department stated.


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