The June 3 elections are almost upon us. Time to read up on the various propositions on the ballot before doing the deed.
Starting off with Proposition A:
To enhance quality educational programs for children; attract and retain quality teachers and staff by increasing salaries; provide teachers with additional compensation for extra work at hard-to-staff schools and in hard-to-fill subject areas; and increase teacher training, resources and classroom support, technology, innovation, and accountability, shall the San Francisco Unified School District be authorized to levy $198 per parcel annually, adjusted for inflation, with mandatory citizen oversight?
Proposition A is an attempt to increase the salaries of teachers and staff by adding an annual flat tax of $198 to owners of property in San Francisco for the next 20 years. The tax will affect home and business owners; it will not affect renters. From EdSource, 51% of these school parcel tax propositions have passed in the last 23 years. The tax would generate $28 million annually for the school district.
An argument for the tax would be the fact that teachers in San Francisco are getting paid at ridiculously low salaries compared to the surrounding school districts; I read somewhere around the $45k a year range. There is also that old saying that children are our future yadda yadda yadda.
An argument against the tax would be renters in the City getting a free pass as the tax only affects property owners. Also the wording says “teachers and staff”, so I am guessing the administrative staff will get a piece of the pie as well. Based off this salary schedule (pdf) for the administrative staff, they already get paid double what a teacher gets paid. There really is no assurance of the funds going towards helping the teachers.
I am riding the proverbial fence on this issue. The teachers are really getting the raw end of the deal because they need an increase in pay especially those living in the City. But, the wording in the proposition is so fuzzy. Maybe they can amend the proposition and put it on the November ballots. Add a line which makes public the use of the funds and have an audit at the end of each year.
To make the tax an equal burden on all residents of the City, they should just call it a living expense tax. If your address is in the City and you’re not a dependent or a senior, you get taxed.