School Bonds require a 55% vote and can only be used for construction and capital improvement; Parcel Taxes require 66⅔% voter approval and may be used for general fund operations.
Election largess extends to local school bonds too
By Kimberly Beltran, SI&A Cabinet Report | http://bit.ly/VMfXcP
15 of 25 School Parcel Taxes approved by voters
from Ballotpedia.org| http://bit.ly/RoFNPL
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 :: California voters on Tuesday not only approved a statewide sales and income tax measure to support education – they also continued a trend of backing local bond initiatives that help schools as well.
Preliminary results show voters approved 85 of 106 school bond measures, authorizing a total of $12.8 billion in borrowing. They also passed 15 of 25 school parcel tax plans, according to a report issued by the League of California Cities on Wednesday.
“The rate of passage of school measures was remarkably in line with historic passage rates,” the report’s author, LCC Fiscal Policy Advisor Michael Coleman, wrote.
Voters in the state’s second-largest school district, San Diego Unified, approved a $2.8 billion bond measure to repair its 223 facilities – some 60 years old – and modernize classrooms by upgrading technology.
The district’s Proposition Z, the largest local school bond of any on Tuesday’s ballot, won with 60.3 percent of the vote.
Likewise, 78 percent of voters in the tiny one-school Pacific Elementary School District in Santa Cruz County authorized the $830,000 Measure M to “improve the quality of education; replace deteriorating roofs; increase student access to computers and modern technology; replace aging portable classroom for pre-school children; and renovate the multi-purpose building for school and community use.”
The beleaguered Inglewood Unified School District received the largest margin of support of all the bond measures – 85.9 percent of the district’s residents supported its $90 million Measure GG. Just this summer, the 12,500-student, K-12 district, unable to pay its bills, was given a $29 million bailout loan and taken over by a state-appointed administrator.
Of the 99 K-12 bond measures statewide, 19 were put forth by districts with potentially serious budget problems. All but Inglewood are listed by the state as receiving “qualified certification,” meaning they may not be able to meet their financial obligations for the current fiscal year as well as for the next two.
Among them are San Diego Unified, Sacramento City Unified – which had two separate bond measures totaling $414 million approved – and Santa Clara County’s Alum Rock Union Unified, which in July refinanced $12.2 million worth of existing general obligation bonds to save taxpayers $731,000 over the life of the bonds.
Voters in the Alum Rock district on Tuesday approved a new bond worth $125 million.
Seven of the 106 school bonds were for college districts. All passed but one – a $497 million proposal by San Diego County’s Mira Costa Community College District, which fell just shy of the 55 percent threshold at 54.1 percent.
Parcel tax elections are held when a taxing district in California wants to raise revenues through imposing an additional tax called a parcel tax. The taxes are a form of property tax, which must be paid by the owners of parcels of real estate. However, unlike standard property taxes, which are based on the value of the property, a parcel tax is an assessment based on the characteristics of the parcel. School districts have created assessments that range from flat amounts per parcel to assessments based on parcel lot square footage or building square foot. Some school districts have assessed residential parcels using one method and non-residential using another method.
According to California Proposition 13 (1978), local districts can levy this type of non-ad valorem tax if a supermajority of two-thirds of the voters approve. (A non-ad valorem tax is one that is not based on the value of the property that is being taxed.)
If voters approve them, parcel taxes can be imposed on public school districts, and on other local units of government. There are 1,042 public school districts in California and between 1983-2009, about 245 of them have adopted a parcel tax.