Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 10:31 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara District Likely to Put School Parcel-Tax Measures Back Before Voters in November

Board of Education considers lowering the dollar amount, but not everyone agrees that it's the best way to go

The Santa Barbara Unified School District decided Wednesday that it will try again in November to pass parcel-tax ballot measures, but the Board of Education may lower the dollar amount.

Measures W and X failed by a narrow margin in the June 5 election, and some board members worry it was partly because of the $54-per-parcel amount — not just the low voter turnout.

Without the measures, programs funded by 2008’s Measures H and I most likely would be eliminated next year after the measures expire June 30, 2013, according to Superintendent Dave Cash.

The education community continues to speculate why the measures failed, and some board members said during Wednesday’s meeting that they would support a lower amount — $43 or $45 per parcel — to appeal to voters who found the $54 per parcel off-putting. Others argued to keep the original amount, as did the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

The foundation ran the campaign this year and will do so again if the district asks, but Executive Director Margie Yahyavi urged the district not to change the measures. She argued that low turnout, with many conservative voters, was the reason the measures failed, but November’s demographics should be more favorable for education.

Measure W, which applied to secondary schools in Santa Barbara and Goleta, received 64.8 percent approval, and Measure X, for elementary schools, received 65.7 percent approval. They required two-thirds majority for approval.

Foundation board member Brian Robinson said the measures had overwhelming support even though it wasn’t a complete victory, and said it’s important that the district spend resources to educate the public about the measures this time around.

Cash agreed, saying it was the smallest amount of district participation in an election he had ever seen, adding that there needs to be a “more robust effort” this time. He said principals are raring to go.

Cash drew up a worksheet of the proposed programs funded by the new parcel-tax measures, including music education and instruments; performing arts and theater; foreign language; math and science materials; technology plan equipment; and professional development funds. With the district’s estimates, those programs would need at least $43 per parcel to pay for them.

There are 24,000 parcels in the elementary school district and 52,000 parcels in the secondary school district, which includes both Santa Barbara and Goleta.

The Board of Education is expected to make its final decision on the dollar amount per parcel and ballot language at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday.

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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