BUSD Board to Finalize Tax Measure Wednesday

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday June 06, 2006

The Berkeley Board of Education is expected to finalize language Wednesday for a renewed parcel tax measure that would supply Berkeley schools with an estimated $19.6 million a year. 

The measure, slated for the ballot this November, would combine and extend two existing taxes, scheduled to end in 2007, for 10 years. The measure would levy a square-footage tax on individual and commercial properties at a rate that would increase with the cost of living. Low-income seniors are eligible for an exemption. 

About $12.7 million, or two-thirds of the funding, would go toward class size reductions, a quarter would fund school excellence programs such as libraries, parent outreach and music and visual and performing arts, and less than a tenth would provide for professional development.  

A survey released in March found that more than three-fourths of Berkeley voters would support a renewed school parcel tax. 

Support is not unanimous, however. One opponent claims the language of the measure would allow the district to spend funds at its leisure and fails to adequately detail auditing requirements. 

The Berkeley Board of Education meets Wednesday at 7 p.m., at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. For more information, call 644-6206.