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Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Proposition A
City College Parcel Tax
San Francisco County

Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

Pass: 242410 / 72.9% Yes votes ...... 90134 / 27.1% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Arguments |

To provide City College of San Francisco with funds the State cannot take away; offset budget cuts; prevent layoffs; provide an affordable, quality education for students; maintain essential courses including, but not limited to, writing, math, science, and other general education; prepare students for four-year universities; provide workforce training including, but not limited to, nursing, engineering, technology, and business; and keep college libraries, student support services, and other instructional support open and up to date; shall the San Francisco Community College District levy 79 dollars per parcel annually for eight years requiring independent audits and citizen oversight?

Summary Prepared by The Ballot Simplification Committee:
The Way It Is Now: City College of San Francisco (CCSF) has nine campuses in the City and serves approximately 100,000 students each year. The state has reduced funding to CCSF by more than $53 million over the past three years. As a result, CCSF's annual revenues are now more than $25 million less than they were a few years ago. The Community College Board, which oversees CCSF, has determined that City College's current revenues are inadequate to fund community college education in San Francisco.

The Proposal: Proposition A would authorize a parcel tax to provide funding for City College of San Francisco. The tax would be $79 per parcel annually, and it would last for eight years. City College would use the tax funds to:

  • maintain core academic courses, including English, math, and science;
  • provide workforce training, including nursing, engineering, business, and technology;
  • provide an education that prepares students for four-year universities;
  • keep City College libraries and student support services open;
  • keep technology and instructional support up to date, and
  • offset State budget cuts.

The use of the funds will be subject to annual review by a Citizen's Oversight Committee appointed by the Community College Board.

Fiscal Impact from The City Controller:
City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition A:

Should the proposed parcel tax be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would not affect the cost of government for the City and County of San Francisco. The proposed tax of $79 per parcel would be collected each year for eight years from property owners of each separately taxed parcel in San Francisco. Property that would otherwise be exempt from property taxes will also be exempt from the parcel tax. The tax is projected to generate approximately $16 million annually. The revenues would benefit the San Francisco Community College District and their use would be subject to the budgetary and fiscal procedures of the Community College District.

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Arguments For Proposition A Arguments Against Proposition A
Vote yes on Measure A + We need City College and City College of San Francisco needs us!

In tough economic times, City College is more important than ever.

Each year, City College serves more than 90,000 students of all incomes, ages and ethnicities across the City. For many low-income and underrepresented students, City College is their only option for higher education. It is an important resource for students of all backgrounds to get an affordable, quality college education, especially with tuition at California's four-year universities rising sharply. It is also the largest provider of workforce training in San Francisco, offering programs in engineering, nursing, and technology that keep San Franciscans working and help to support our local economy.

Billions in state budget cuts threaten City College's ability to continue to educate and train local residents.

This measure will provide City College with local funds the state cannot take away and will guarantee City College can maintain core academic classes in writing, math and science; prepare students for four year universities; and provide workforce training.

Demand for classes is increasing, but many students are being turned away. Without additional funding, City College will have to deny thousands of students access to education.

We can't let that happen. That's why we need Measure A.

With tough accountability requirements including mandatory independent audits, a citizens' oversight committee, and an eight-year expiration date, we can be sure the money is spent as intended.

For all of these reasons and many more, students, educators, and community leaders ask you to join them to vote Yes on A.

For more information, visit

San Francisco Democratic Party San Francisco Labor Council Senator Mark Leno Board of Supervisors President David Chiu Vice President, City College Board of Trustees Dr. Anita Grier

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Proposition A proponents threaten voters that "without additional funding City College will have to deny thousands of students access to education."

Meanwhile, City College of San Francisco:

  • spends 92% of its budget on salaries and benefits
  • has run deficits the past three years
  • fails to conduct financial audits
  • allows department heads to influence their own salaries
  • pays trustees for meetings they fail to attend (a practice state community college officials say is illegal)

Fiscal mismanagement, not state budget cuts, is the reason for CCSF's financial woes. All 112 of California's community colleges have been impacted by the state government's own fiscal mismanagement, yet only three --CCSF among them--are threatened with losing accreditation.

Accreditation Commission president Barbara Beno cited the school with "leadership weaknesses at all levels" and "failure to react to ongoing reduced funding" ( -College-of-San-Francisco-on-brink-of-closure-3682955 .php )

Many community colleges have scaled back retiree benefits in the last 20 years to balance their budgets, but not CCSF.

If City College trustees were serious about living within their means, like the rest of us have to do, they would have addressed budgetary issues years ago. Instead, the number of major problems noted in the Accreditation Commission's report increased from 8 in 2006 to 14 in 2012.

Now they have the audacity to ask San Francisco taxpayers for a bailout.

Don't give in to their bullying tactic of threatening students' educations instead of getting their own house in order! Vote NO on A.

Libertarian Party of San Francisco

City College serves a diverse community of more than 90,000 students, and its survival benefits us all. However, raising your property taxes to provide CCSF with money will do nothing to save it. CCSF's troubles do not arise from cuts in funding. The Accreditation Commission Evaluation Report of 2012 (http://www has pointed to the college's lack of planning, failure to live within its means, ignoring growing costs of retiree liabilities, clinging to "shared governance" which precludes effective decision-making, spending 92% of its budget in salaries and benefits, failure to allocate funds to technology and other infrastructure,lack of effective assessment of student learning. These are structural failures, not funding challenges.

California has 112 community colleges; except for two others besides CCSF, all have planned for the difficult economic times we are all experiencing. CCSF continues on the same unsustainable profligate path, aided by voters' willingness to bail them out with tax dollars. CCSF did not correct the serious shortcomings indicated in 2006; and CCSF's immediate response to the scathing Accreditation Commission report of 2012 leads us to anticipate the same inaction. Hiring a crisis- management team and a public relations consultant, and attempting to throw money at long-standing leadership failures does nothing to address the Accreditation Commission's concerns.

We have consistently urged voters to insist on efficiency at all levels of public instruction, instead of assuming all problems are caused solely by lack of funding. City College leadership needs to face the new economic realities that we are all experiencing. It needs to remove barriers to effective and sometimes painful decision making. Or it needs to step aside and allow a reconstruction team to save CCSF. Vote "No" on District Measure A.

Libertarian Party of San Francisco

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Vote YES on Proposition A to Save City College

The State of California has slashed more than $53 million in funds for City College over the past three years. This has resulted in overflowing classes; reduced course offerings; cancelled summer sessions; unfilled positions and employee pay cuts. To prevent further devastating cuts to core programs we need Proposition A.

With Proposition A, City College will have a stable, local funding source. Every dollar generated by Proposition A stays in San Francisco.

City College provides access to:

  • Quality education at an affordable price;
  • Workforce training with programs in nursing, engineering, culinary arts, printing, art, fire, public safety and many more;
  • 66 different associate degrees, 125 credit certificate programs, and 84 non-credit certificates;
  • A gateway to four-year colleges and universities with an affordable foundation; and
  • The largest English as Second Language (ESL) trainer in the Bay Area.

Proposition A will help City College maintain core programs. For many of City College's 90,000 students, it is the only affordable option.

Proposition A will have strict oversight and management protections. This includes a citizen's oversight committee and mandatory independent audits required by law.

Please join the thousands of San Franciscans who have relied on City College in the past or need City College now or in the future. Vote Yes on Proposition A.

San Francisco Democratic Party San Francisco Labor Council Chinese for Affirmative Action Senator Mark Leno Board of Supervisors President David Chiu

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:47 PST
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