UPDATED: MEASURE A PASSES
Voters approved the Measure A school parcel tax on Tuesday night, with 68.43 percent of the 18,818 voters who cast ballots saying yes to the tax.
Some 45 percent of voters turned out for the special tax election, with two-thirds of them casting absentee ballots.
Measure A will cost property owners 32 cents per square foot of building on each parcel they own, with per-parcel caps of $7,999 and $299 for unimproved parcels like parking lots. The tax, which replaces the district’s existing Measure A and Measure H parcel taxes, is expected to earn the school district $12 million for each of the seven years it’s in place. Seniors and some disabled people can apply for an exemption from the tax.
Under Measure A, a homeowner with a 1,600-square-foot home will pay $512 a year in parcel tax for schools. That’s more than the $309 a year homeowners pay under the district’s existing parcel taxes, which are set to sunset in 2012.
Proponents of Measure A had said the tax is needed to preserve Alameda’s schools in the face of massive state funding cuts, and school district officials said that if the tax doesn’t pass, they will be forced to close school, increase class sizes and slash a host of programs.
Opponents argued that it unfairly gives bigger property owners a tax break while pushing their tax burden off on homeowners and small business owners, and they questioned whether the cuts school district officials said would come without the tax will be made.
Measure A is the third school parcel tax voters have been asked to consider in four years. Voters approved the Measure H tax in June 2008 by about 100 votes, with 66.9 percent of voters saying yes to the tax; in June 2010, voters said no to the Measure E parcel tax, with only 65.6 percent of some 21,000 voters who cast ballots saying yes – about 250 less than the measure would have needed to pass.