Monday, July 16 , 2018, 1:57 am | Fair 66º


Voter Survey Favorable for Renewing Parcel Tax Measure for Santa Barbara School District

School board will meet again Tuesday to consider moving forward with the measure, which could go on June's ballot

A survey gauging voter support for renewing a parcel tax measure for the Santa Barbara Unified School District reflected high approval, which means the item may go on the June ballot.

The measure would replace the expiring parcel tax measure. Godbe Research consultants found 72 percent approval among secondary district voters and 77 percent approval among elementary district voters.

School board members will consider going forward at Tuesday’s meeting.

“These are great numbers,” said Bryan Godbe, president of Los Angeles-based Godbe Research, adding that support is at the same levels as the successful 2008 measure.

He suggested a duration of five years (the four-year measure approved in 2008 expires in the fiscal year starting July 1) and talked about increasing the amount to $54 from $27 per year for elementary district voters and $23 for secondary voters. Santa Barbara County has a Feb. 2 deadline for June ballot measures, so the board would have to act quickly if it wants to pursue that election.

Since there are likely to be at least two statewide tax measure on the November ballot — by Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Chamber of Commerce — Godbe suggested asking voters in June to avoid being caught in campaigns of “vote for my tax, not the other one.”

“We won’t have that level of animosity in June, even with the presidential primary,” he said.

Superintendent Dave Cash said Brown’s budget includes a “trigger” for the next school year that amounts to 15 school days cut if the November tax measures aren’t cut.

“No one wants to make promises we can’t keep, bottom line,” board member Monique Limon said, and the others concurred.

Board members can discuss more specific programs and areas to focus on at the next meeting.

Individual programs and items that had the most support among voters were enhancing math and science education, maintaining smaller class sizes, attracting and retaining quality teachers, and restoring music, arts and theater at junior high schools.

There are some voters who vote only in November, but among June voters, “enhancing math and science is still a home run” and support is still much higher than most districts ever see, Godbe said.

Lower on the priorities list were junior high language classes, librarians, providing healthy food on campus, and classroom technology such as laptops and tablets. The implementation of tablets and personal computers in the classroom is recent, and Godbe said voters, especially older ones, aren’t “with us” on adopting that technology in the classroom yet.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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