Measure E passes with 70.7% of vote


By on Wed, June 9, 2010

UPDATE: All 29 precincts have reported.

Measure E, which will assess a $150 per year tax on parcels for the Cabrillo Unified School District, has been passed with 70.7% of the vote with all precincts reporting.

The measure needed a two-thirds majority to pass. This victory will end a five-time losing streak for CUSD parcel taxes. The most recent effort—Measure S in 2006—lost with only 61% of the vote.

The passage of Measure E will assure the jobs of dozens of district employees, including middle and high school counselors, and elementary school teachers hired to enable class size reductions.

In the 18 years since I arrived on the Coastside, we’ve seen many local issues decided by upwards of 70% - and even upwards of 90% - voter approvals.

In 1996, the local electorate gave a 75% approval vote to issue $35 million in school construction bonds, and only this school year did we finally see the main result - a rebuilt Cunha.

Somewhere along the line, a decade of CUSD school board majorities lost their focus on education, as Barry documented on this 2005 article:

Now that CUSD has delivered on the promise of 1996, trust is higher - high enough to again bring out the overwhelming desire to pay whatever it takes to educate children locally.

Now, it’s time to move past a decade of finger-pointing and ill feelings, as people over-analyzed the previous parcel tax failures and laid the blame everywhere except on this simple and obvious cause.

Congratulations and thanks to those who work tirelessly in support of education here on the Coastside.

I agree that something has changed.

There a has been a nearly 10-point increase in the vote—in what looked like a demographically challenging election.

It should be remembered that 2006’s failed Measure S had a well-run and well-financed campaign, as well as broad public support. So, it wasn’t just the outstanding efforts of the Measure E team that made the difference.

The first difference is that the need is more dire than it was four years ago.

The second difference is that the community is moving past some of its previous divisions. The fundamental political differences are still there, but there seems to be less desire to punish the school board for past misbehavior.

Does anyone know what percent of the voters eligible to vote on the Coastside this represents?  Just curious…

Isn’t a 2/3rd majority needed on this? Looks to me it’s not quit there yet.

2/3 is 66.67%

Katherine Webber asks what percentage of eligible voters cast ballots in the CUSD district. Good question.
The answer is 40%.
That may seem low at first glance but it’s about 43% higher than the San Mateo County turnout of 27.8% in yesterday’s election. That’s a remarkable difference that’s very indicative of stronger motivation.

The fact that there was no opposing statement in the voter booklet was very telling; people can whine and groan but that doesn’t work as a convincing argument.
And without writing and publishing a coherent and convincing opposition stance (sometimes it’s all I read prior to voting; I know I should be do better but I’m also sure I am not alone in this) it’s hard to feel as though there was much effort applied from the “No on E” faction other than ranting on “Talkabout”
What a relief; I remember the feeling of needing to move out of the country if McCain/Palin won; it was the same feeling for me if E had lost: I don’t know that I could live here if the prevailing sentiment is “anti E”
Thank you everyone who worked to pass E, voted for E and also those of you who didn’t vote but will need to pay the tax; our Coastside will be the better for it.

I note that during the campaign, many who previously opposed this kind of tax on well-considered principles were silent. The principles haven’t changed, so I can only guess that some, like me, were weary of repeating themselves time and again. I know others are simply bored to sleep by the plodding nature of repeated parcel tax measures.

Then there is the specific aspect of dumping money into the poorly-directed, dollar-pulverizing mess of the CUSD. The measure and campaign was, essentially and once again, an emotional “trust us to help the kiddies” whitewash rather than an earmarked distribution of new tax monies to areas of proven need. Given the decades-long track record of management in the CUSD, there is little chance any improvement in education will result due to the increased taxes, so folks shouldn’t be disappointed if they don’t see the results they were led to hope for. Only some (politically popular) jobs will be saved because there will still be a budget shortfall.

That shortfall will grow, as usual, and there will be additional pleas for more money in the years to come unless the state’s methods of funding school districts changes for the better and fundamental changes are made to services and spending in the CUSD. There is a better chance that we’ll be inundated by sea level rise, living on a dead coast due to ocean acidification, or furiously knitting long underwear because climate has flipped into the next ice age before we see objectivity, responsibility, and justice enter the arena of public educational funding in California.

I voted for E, somewhat reluctantly, given my general dislike of parcel taxes <>.

I agree with Carl to this extent: it seems to me that CUSD’s budget priorities are not tied very tightly to academic performance concerns. According to the district’s numbers, it spends twice as much per student at Kings Mountain as at the other K-5 sites, which strikes me as indefensible. Yet Kings Mountain wasn’t on the table. (It seems to me that if Kings Mountain is to remain open, it should do so as a charter school.)

Likewise, K-3 class-size reduction is politically popular, even though it’s expensive and there’s no convincing evidence that it contributes to better academic outcomes. (What evidence there is suggests that, to be effective, CSR requires classes considerably smaller than the current 20.)

Even so, I voted for E because there doesn’t appear to be any other means of shoring up the budget in the foreseeable future, and in the faint hope that future budget choices will be accompanied by explicit evaluations of their impact on academic performance rather than political expediency. After the school board election, perhaps?

I actually agree with many points you both make, even though my job was on the chopping block.  I believe in hard budget times, that any of the “extra goodies” that were added in fatter times should go:  class size reduction, literacy coaches, and the like.  I “got it” that Counseling was a tool to get voters to vote yes on E; there have been counselors at the high school and middle school for decades.  Losing us would have been insane.  Who do you think does the STAR testing, college scholarships, keeps teacher’s at contract, etc.?  Unfortunately, the way schools are now funded in this state, and with all the federal mandates (most of which are unfunded) schools now depend upon parcel taxes to make it.  I don’t like it either, but that’s the way it is.  You will see a shift soon, however.  Many of our teachers have 25 years + and will be retiring.  Every retiring teacher replaced by a new teacher will save the district $40K. That, plus new teachers will have to pay into their health benefits.  That will also save money.  I’m guessing a third of our teaching staff is close to looking at retirement. It’s part of the natural evolution of a district. So, I’m hoping better budget times are ahead.

And don’t even get me started about King’s Mountain.  I’ve never understood why the district keeps that one alive.  The land alone, if sold, would solve our budget problems forever.

I rather like the idea of small, local schools like Kings Mnt. Under the current circumstances, though, I don’t see how the district can justify extracting an extra quarter of a million dollars (their figure) from the other sites to subsidize it. It should really be a charter, perhaps associated with Woodside if CUSD won’t have it.

WRT CSR, I’d like to see classes of maybe 12-15 students, but that’s obviously a pipe dream. If there were better evidence that 20 had an academic payoff, then CSR generally would be more attractive, but as it is, I can’t see prioritizing CSR over, say, counselors.