Polling Shows Parcel Tax Passing

by on August 4, 2010 · 11 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Education, San Diego

SchoolBuslogoExclusive to the OB Rag

A recent public opinion survey indicates that, despite facing a two thirds threshold for passage, voter support for public education is deep enough for the San Diego Unified School District’s proposed parcel tax to win at the ballot box in November.

The polling firm of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates conducted a telephone survey (June 20-22, 2010) of 400 voters in the San Diego District who are likely to vote in the November 2010 General Election. The survey showed that 81% of the respondents recognize that the school district has a great or some need for additional funding. This figure has increased seven percent, from 74 to 81 percent, in less than a year.

parcel_tax_electionsVoters considered the insertion of the ballot provision that “Sacramento cannot take the funds away” to be extremely or very important by a similar margin. A super majority of voters (more than two-thirds) identified an additional four provisions that rated as extremely or very important:

  • Ensuring funds can only be used for classrooms (75 percent)
  • Preventing cuts to essential academic programs (73 percent)
  • Preventing massive teacher layoffs (72 percent)
  • Preventing math, science and English teacher layoffs (72 percent)

Respondents perceiving that the school district had little or no need for additional funding added up to 13% in the poll, a decline of 4% from a similar effort made in October, 2009.

This number indicates that the opposition to the measure is largely confined to voters who wouldn’t vote for a tax increase under any circumstances. They’d probably be writing letters to the Union-Tribune bitterly attacking the district even if Jesus and Ronald Reagan came down from heaven and announced their support of the parcel tax.

budget sliced pieThe polling numbers indicate that the proposed tax, which would cost private home owners an additional $8 a month, and is limited to a five year term, won’t have a cakewalk come November. The base number of voters supporting the tax starts out at 59% in the survey, but increases to 70% after learning about the specifics of the measure.

The poll was commissioned by the district prior to a July vote by the School Board which placed the measure on the November ballot. A move to remove the Parcel Tax from the ballot, initiated by city politicians, failed after School Board President Richard Barrera heard from angry parents, fearing that removal of the Parcel Tax would lead to further increases and classroom size and cancellation of many popular programs.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar annagrace August 4, 2010 at 11:30 am

Thanks for the scoop. Today we will find out if the proposed sales tax increase will also be on the ballot.


avatar doug porter August 4, 2010 at 11:42 am

yeah, I’m following a bunch of twitter feeds on that. It’s probably much more fun than being there.


avatar kenloc August 5, 2010 at 2:06 pm

People with children get tax breaks for every child they have. People with children use more public services. Stop giving these tax breaks out and put the money toward public schools.Problem solved.


avatar dave rice August 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Ensuring funds can only be used for classrooms. That’s the key point to push.


avatar orangechick August 6, 2010 at 10:27 am

Ensuring funds can only be used for classrooms? What exactly does that mean? And how, exactly, is it going to be enforced?


avatar RB August 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

A good compromise for the Parcel Tax would be to direct the money specifically to class size reduction or the classrooms in the early grades. The teachers union would benefit because smaller class size mean more teachers are hired or retained. The teachers and students would benefit from a greater focus on each student at an important early age. The taxpayers would benefit by keeping the money out of the irresponsible hands of Schoolbrary School Board.


avatar J. Browne August 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm

The district has a pupil to teacher ratio of 14:1 (July 2010 Pepperdine Study), the lowest in the study. When you consider that most classes have 24 students….you see that we have too many certificated teachers in non-classroom positions. Only 4,161 FTE allocated to classrooms for next year, but the district has over 7,400 certificated personnel. When you subtract, counselors, prep time, speech, v.p.’s, etc. they still have 2,400 certificated personnel not in the classroom. This is why I will not vote for the tax. Teachers who no longer want to be in the classroom move into “resource” or “curriculum” or other jobs. The district allows them to do this. We have more than enough teachers to lower class sizes right now.

Stab away….


avatar doug porter August 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm

your figures are correct. your reasoning is flawed. of course you can fix this if by eliminating all those pesky programs like GATE, ESL, etc, etc.


avatar J. Browne August 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm

GATE and ESL don’t add up to much. I know the GATE figures is something like 5 certificated personnel. I agree that ESL is important, but those numbers aren’t that large either (don’t have them handy). I am talking about eliminating those pesky departments like curriculum research, which have dozens and dozens of teachers researching curriculum; all while the district spends hundreds of thousands on outside “experts” to give recommendations on curriculum, only having zero to show for it, for the last several years.

There are too many resource teachers. Ask any teacher and they will tell you that there are too many teachers floating around doing very little. This is how I found out about it in the first place. One teacher told me that four teachers came to her school from the district to teach four 1st grade teachers how to teach math. Why four??? I asked if they were training, she said no, they work together as a team. She was ticked off that she had to get a sub for a half day, waste all that time and was taught nothing new from four “teachers”. She and the other teachers complained and were told they were lucky to have all those years of experience to help them. Well that didn’t go over well, because between the four classroom teachers, they had 110 years of experience.

But of course, you will defend them to the end….all while 500-1,000 classroom teachers will be laid off next year.


avatar RB August 7, 2010 at 9:23 am

The resource teacher ratio is a worst problem than your ratios indicate. In PE and music classes they have 40-60 students per class. While I don’t mind larger class sizes in these programs, they distort teacher student ratios. Also, Gate classes do not have reduced class sizes in Point Loma and Seminar class size has been increase to 24. The extra Gate personnel run the program, testing, and teacher training for the whole District. How many classroom teachers could the district fund with the $3 million being used for the new area superintendent positions?


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