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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Measure B
Special Tax
Berkeley Unified School District

2/3 Approval Required

38,062 / 72.2% Yes votes ...... 14,664 / 27.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 15 1:28pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (88/88)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

To protect quality public education despite reductions in State funding, shall Berkeley Unified School District levy a two year special tax at 9.7c/square foot for Residential Buildings, 14.7c/square foot for Commercial/Industrial/Institutional buildings and $50/parcel for unimproved parcels? Funds will be used to improve student achievement, reduce class sizes and enhance libraries, music programs, teacher training and parent involvement. A citizen's oversight committee will monitor that funds are used for identified Purposes.

Impartial Analysis from Alameda County Counsel, Richard E. Winnie
Measure B, a Berkeley Unified School District ("District") special parcel tax measure, seeks voter approval to authorize the District to levy a special parcel tax for two years, revenue from which is to be used exclusively provide for smaller class sizes and expanded course offerings (68%), school libraries (16%), music programs (7%), educational program evaluation and teacher training (7%) and parent outreach and translation services (2%).

School districts have the authority to levy special taxes upon approval of two-thirds of the votes cast on the special tax proposals pursuant to the provisions of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution and California Government Code sections 50075-50077, 50079, and 53722 of the California Government Code.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure vote for approval, a special tax will be imposed annually at the rate of 9.7 cents per square foot on residential buildings and 14.7 cents per square foot on commercial, industrial and institutional buildings and $50 per parcel for unimproved properties for a period of two years, beginning in the tax year commencing on July 1, 2005. The measure further provides that the monies collected shall be deposited into a restricted account and shall be expended only for the purposes and in the percentages set forth above. The tax will be collected by the Alameda County and Contra Costa County treasurer-tax collector at the same time and in the same manner as ad valorem property taxes are collected.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure do not vote for approval, the measure will fail and the Berkeley Unified School District will not be authorized to levy the qualified special tax

s/RICHARD E. WINNIE County Counsel

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Arguments For Measure B Arguments Against Measure B
Neither the State of California nor the federal government is adequately funding our public schools-children are being left behind.

To balance its budget and maintain fiscal integrity, the Berkeley Unified School District has made over $14 million in cuts. Unfortunately, these cuts substantially increased class size, eliminated many teaching positions, reduced library hours, and undermined our acclaimed music program.

In difficult times like these, our community must act to protect its children. Measure B is a limited, narrowly tailored, two-year, local action to restore essential funding and prevent further cuts that would seriously compromise our children's future.

  • 68% of the money will reverse recent class size increases;
  • 16% will keep libraries open and staffed;
  • 7% will fund music programs for 4th-8th graders; and
  • 9% will provide increased teacher training, evaluation, and family outreach.

A citizen oversight committee will ensure that every dollar is properly spent.

Until now, the Berkeley Schools Educational Excellence Project (BSEP, a local tax initiated in 1986, and up for reauthorization in 2006), kept classes small, and the libraries and music program afloat. But due to increasing costs, together with the state budget crisis, BSEP funds are no longer sufficient.

The facts are straightforward: if Measure B fails, deeper and more devastating cuts will be necessary.

Our community is uniting to protect quality public education for all our children. Measure B is an essential investment in the future of our community and is endorsed by all School Board members, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Don Perata, Assemblymember Loni Hancock, Supervisor Keith Carson, League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville, and community members throughout Berkeley.

Please join us - Vote Yes on Measure B.


s/SHIRLEY DEAN Former Mayor

s/RUSS ELLIS Vice Chancellor Emeritus, UC Berkeley

s/BETTY OLDS Councilmember, District 6

s/MARY FRIEDMAN Executive Director Emeritus, Berkeley Public Education Foundation

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Vote NO on Measure B.

The school district uses our taxes wastefully. Other local school district's top administrators took a voluntary pay cut because of tight fiscal times. Berkeley's top administrators received 20% pay raises. The superintendent also gets a $300,000 interest free loan to help pay for her house.

Since 2001, BUSD paid a contractor over $800 per day, plus expenses, for almost 18 months, to be an administrator.

These are not costs which we should pay extra for.

Measure B drives families away. Berkeley pays the highest taxes in the state. Families with school age children can't afford to live in Berkeley. A vibrant school system needs students. Measure B, another tax, is a bad idea.

There are other sources of money. Berkeley used to actively seek grants. Not now. The current school administration has allowed grants to lapse, has refused to apply for grants and instead asks taxpayers for more money.

For example, the school district constructed a brand new $35 million building at Berkeley High School, but didn't bother to apply for grants from the California Energy Commission for solar power. Taxpayer funds which could be used to pay for music in the classroom is now paying for higher power bills instead.

Extra money should be used to benefit students, not higher salaries, not costs which can be avoided.

This measure has no controls, no accountability, and no parent input on how the money will be spent. Vote NO on B.



Vote NO on another school tax with no citizen input on spending, and no accountability. This measure is a big time money grab.

This tax measure eliminates all checks and balances.

* Eliminates guarantee of equal funding for all schools
* Eliminates democratically elected school committees which decide how best to spend the money for their school
* Eliminates the democratically elected Planning and Oversight Committee which allocates district funds and ensures District accountability.

This tax measure gives administrators too much control.

  • School administrators skim 10+15% right off the top for overhead.
  • School administrators can pay for almost anything and call it class size reduction. Read the text. This measure says class size reduction funds can be spent for "all...costs...including expenses associated with opening or maintaining classrooms or school." This could be anything, light bulbs, janitors, or salary increases for our already overpaid administrators.

School administration salaries are too high.
  • Berkeley's top administrators received $30,000 per year salary increases between 2001 and 2003 + when the school district was in a fiscal crisis.
  • Berkeley's school superintendent is the highest paid superintendent in the Bay Area for a school district of this size.

Berkeley already gives an extra $14 million each year to the school district on top of the standard school tax. We gave schools $275 million since 1992 for construction. Before the school district demands more money, it needs to show that it uses the money we already give, effectively and efficiently.

The School District has refused to implement performance audits. Performance audits report on whether money is being wasted or used ineffectively. Berkeley has the highest property taxes in the state. No more money without citizen oversight, citizen input and accountability.

Vote No on Measure B.

s/STEPHANIE CORCOS President, Berkeleyans for Responsible School Funding

s/JENNIFER HAVEN President, Seniors for Fair Taxation


s/PETER DUMAS Long time Berkeley Resident

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The Argument Against Measure B is wrong! Measure B helps reverse recent budget cuts + It eliminates nothing!

BSEP's equal per-student funding, elected school committees and Planning and Oversight Committee all continue untouched.

Limited, specific, two-year measure

Funds can ONLY be used for:

* Reducing class-size + eliminating overcrowded classes Measure B explicitly directs 68% of funds for reducing class sizes to more educationally effective levels: students in Grades K-3, 26 in Grades 4-5, and 28 Grades 6-12.
* Library staffing
* Music teachers
* Teacher training, parent outreach, translation, evaluation.

Measure B reinforces checks and balances + provides citizen oversight

Measure B requires an independent, Planning and Oversight committee to ensure that funds are appropriately used.

School tax and bond measures have been used effectively, efficiently New, remodeled, and upgraded schools demonstrate effective use of Berkeley school bonds. Berkeley's BSEP oversight was acclaimed by State FCMAT auditors.

Our community must act to protect its children

Measure B is Berkeley's limited response to the state fiscal crisis, which required our school board (and others throughout California) to increase class sizes and reduce essential programs. Measure B is supported by Berkeley parent leaders active in ensuring that school tax funds are effectively spent including BSEP Planning and Oversight Committee Co- Chairs Dan Lindheim and Susan Henderson, PTA Council President Roia Ferrazares and VPWanda Stewart.

Join the unanimous School Board, Mayor Bates, Former- Mayor Dean, elected representatives Lee, Perata, Hancock, Carson in supporting Berkeley Schools!

Yes on Measure B!

s/LONI HANCOCK Assemblywoman 14th Assembly District

s/NANCY RIDDLE Vice President, Berkeley School Board Former Chair, Berkeley BSEP Planning and Oversight (P & O) Committee

s/BARRY FIKE President, Berkeley Federation of Teachers

s/SHIRLEY RICHARDSON BROWER Executive Director, South Berkeley YMCA

s/FRED COLLIGNON Dean, Undergraduate Education, CED, University of California Berkeley Former Councilmember District 8

Full Text of Measure B
The following is the full ballot text of the proposition to be presented to the voters by the Berkeley Unified School District in the ballot pamphlet:

"Protecting Quality Education in Berkeley's Public Schools"

To protect quality public education despite reductions in State funding, shall Berkeley Unified School District levy a two year special tax at 9.7/square foot for Residential Buildings, 14.7/square foot for Commercial/Industrial/ Institutional buildings and $50/parcel for unimproved parcels? Funds will be used to improve student achievement, reduce class sizes and enhance libraries, music programs, teacher training and parent involvement. A citizen's oversight committee will monitor that funds are used for identified Purposes.


The revenues raised by this Measure are to be used to provide quality educational programs to improve achievement of Berkeley's public schools students.


Funds raised by this Special tax shall be deposited in restricted accounts, with the available funds raised by this Special tax to be allocated to the following Purposes:

  • Smaller class sizes and expanded course offerings........68%
  • School Libraries.............................................................16%
  • Music Programs...............................................................7%
  • Educational program evaluation and teacher training......7%
  • Parent outreach and translation services...........................2%


A. Smaller class sizes and expanded course offerings

Sixty eight percent (68%) of the available revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the Purpose of reducing class sizes in the elementary schools, and reducing class sizes and allowing expanded course offerings in the Middle and High Schools.

The goals for class sizes to be achieved with the use of these monies are: a district-wide average class size of 20:1 for grades K-3; 26:1 for grades 4-5; 28:1 for grades 6-12.

The monies dedicated to this Purpose may be spent to cover all personnel, operational and material costs attendant to class size reduction including expenses associated with opening or maintaining classrooms or schools needed to accommodate the additional teachers hired to reduce class size.

B. School Libraries Sixteen percent (16%) of the available revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated to the Purpose of increasing student access to quality school libraries by providing qualified library staff in all elementary and middle schools, the high schools and the district's other specialized libraries.

C. Music Programs Seven percent (7%) of the available revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated to the Purpose of restoring quality music programs by providing additional qualified music teachers for the 4th thru 8th grades music program and support staff for the music teachers.

D. Educational Program Evaluation and Teacher Training Seven percent (7%) of the available revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated to the Purpose of assessing the District's educational programs for student achievement results, and providing training programs for teachers and staff.

E. Parent Outreach and Translation services Two percent (2%) of the available revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated to the Purpose of supporting the families of all Berkeley's public school students to have greater access to and involvement in their children's education.

F. Administrative Costs Administrative expenses incurred in implementing this Measure shall be paid from the monies from this Measure. These expenses shall be allowed at a rate equivalent to the District's "indirect costs ratio" as established in accordance with the State of California formula for school districts. The monies for these expenses shall be deducted from the revenues dedicated to each Purpose of this tax before the monies are distributed to the expenditure budget for that Purpose.


A. Tax Base

i. The special tax shall be levied on the square footage of all Improvements in the Berkeley Unified School District, except where the Improvements are otherwise exempt from taxation. The tax levied shall be at the rate of 9.7 cents/ square foot on all Residential Buildings and Improvements and 14.7 cents/square foot on all Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Buildings and Improvements and $50 per parcel on Unimproved Property. Unimproved Parcels do not contain buildings or improvements.

ii. The tax base shall be described in the Berkeley Municipal Code Section 7.56.020 which defines and delimits the parameters of the square footage applications, and which is incorporated by reference herein. In the event of the expiration of this Municipal Code for any reason, the same Definitions shall continue to apply as the basis for this special tax.

iii. Exemption for very low-income senior citizens, 65 years of age or older, shall be allowed in accordance with Municipal Code Section 7.56.035, which is incorporated by reference herein. In the event of expiration of this Municipal Code for any reason, the same exemption clause shall continue to apply to this tax.

B. Term The Measure shall be operative immediately upon passage. The tax shall be levied in FY 2005-2006 and FY 2006-2007. Any proceeds from this Special Tax not spent during those fiscal years may be spent on all authorized Purposes until exhausted.

C. Constitutional Spending Limit Pursuant to Article XIIIB of the California Constitution, the Constitutional Appropriations Limit of the School District shall be increased by the amount collected by the levy of this special tax in accordance with the applicable requirements of the State Law.

D. Cost of Living Adjustment Each year the rates imposed by this Special Tax may be increased by a cost-of-living adjustment of five percent (5%) on the prior year base of this Special Tax or by a percentage equal to the annual percentage increase of the Consumers' Price Index, All Urban Consumers, All Items, for the San Francisco-Oakland Metropolitan Area, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, whichever is greater. Any increase in funds raised by this Measure due to the cost-of-living adjustment set forth in this Section shall be allocated to each Purpose in proportion to its share of the Measure established in Section 2 of this Measure.

E. Collection The District may request that the special tax be collected by the County of Alameda, or any other designated agency. The collection of taxes under this Measure, including the imposition of penalties, additional fees, and interest upon persons who fail to remit the special tax imposed by this Measure, or who fail to remit any delinquent remittance, shall be subject to and governed by the rules, regulations, and procedures authorized by law. Every penalty imposed and such interest as accrues under the provisions of this Measure shall become a part of the tax herein required to be paid to the School District.

F. Savings Clause The provisions of this Measure shall not apply to any person, association, or corporation or to any property as to whom or which it is beyond the power of the District to impose the tax herein provided. If any sentence, clause, section, or part of this Measure or any tax against any individual or any of the several groups specified herein is found to be unconstitutional, illegal, or invalid, such unconstitutionality, illegality, or invalidity shall affect only such clause, sentence, or part of this Measure and shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions, sentences, clauses, sections, or other parts of this Measure. It is hereby declared to be the intention of the Board and of the electorate that this Measure would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal, or invalid sentence, clause, section, or part thereof, not been included.


A. Separate Fund Proceeds of this Special Tax shall be deposited into a Fund which shall be kept separate and apart from other Funds in the District and shall be applied only to the respective Purposes in the percentage specified in Section 2.

B. Annual Report An Annual Report, including the revenues generated by this Special Tax and the expenditures of these monies and reporting the status of any projects funded by these monies shall be produced by the Chief Financial Officer of the District for the Board of Education no later than January 1 of the year following the fiscal year during which the monies were expended.

C. Citizen Oversight The District shall assign an Oversight Committee the responsibility to monitor the expenditures of the monies generated from this Measure. The District shall make available to the Oversight Committee and the general public, updated budget and financial expenditure reports of the revenues and expenditures of this special tax at least four times annually: before adoption of the District's Annual Budget, concurrently with the State-required Interim Reports and the Annual Report. These reports shall be organized to display clearly how expenditures relate to the Purposes of this Measure. Subsequent to issuance of the Auditor's Report, the Oversight Committee shall review compliance with the terms of this Measure and shall prepare a report to the District commenting on the District's compliance with the Measure.

D. Independent Auditor's Report Each year, an independent auditor retained by the School District shall review the District's Annual Report to determine that funds generated by this Measure have been allocated and expended in compliance with the conditions of this Measure, specifically:

(1) that the Funds raised by this Measure have been allocated to the respective Purposes in the percentages specified in Section 2.
(2) that the Funds raised by this Measure have been spent for Purposes specified in Section 3.
(3) that other conditions of this Measure have been satisfied.
Said audit shall be conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, the Standards and Procedures for Audits of California K-12 Local Educational Agencies, and this Measure.

E. Civil Remedies Available at Law The above provisions are in addition to civil remedies available at law for assuring compliance with the terms of this Measure.

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:28 PST
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