SF: Prop A – School Parcel Tax

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.

7 thoughts on “SF: Prop A – School Parcel Tax

  1. We teachers are really desperate for this to pass. 70% of the money will go to teacher salaries and the next largest chunk will got to updating technology.

    please please vote “yes” and urge your friends and fam to do so as well.

    as much as i love teaching (and trust me when i say that my middle school students in SF unified are the most incredible group of people), i don’t forsee myself continuing in teaching unless there is an increase in wages.

    it’s funny, a man said “you knew what you were getting into” the other day about this whole issue of teachers and our poor salaries. in some sense, i did know. i signed the contract knowing the salary, but you don’t TRULY realize how meager the salary is once you actually start living and workng in SF. this city is so notoriously expensive. if you think about the high cost of living, then it seems that teachers in SF unified are the most poorly paid teachers in the whole country!

    and think about the education that we attain:
    1) 4 years for a bachelor’s
    2) 2 years for a teaching credential at an accredited, respectable institution and not some overnight, online, disaster of a “university”
    3) 1.5 more years to “clear” your teaching credential

    that totals seven and half years of fulltime coursework!!

    when you think of all that, then the salary is truly ridiculous.

    to all the people in the world who say things such as “so what, teachers get the summer off” well – i assure you that most teachers i know have second jobs in the summer months due to economic necessity. rarely are we ever sipping a margarita on a beach in mexico!

  2. Although the intent of this prop is all good, the way it is structured is quite unfair: 2/3 of the city residents will not have to pay a penny towards this tax and also the small property owners get penalized as opposed to commercial real estate owners who will have to pay the tax based on the parcel of land, and not based on the number of units (or sq ft, or value of the property, etc) As such the owners or developers of the Rincon, Infinity, etc., … towers, will be paying the same tax as if there were only one unit built on their parcels, instead of multi-unit towers. Why is the burden only on the small property owners and not all residetns? I can’t agree with you more: Why not have a sales tax or cost of living tax, whereby everyone living in the city takes on the responsibility of improving public school system and teacher compensation?

  3. I probably will make less then $10000, this year, just got my proerty bill with the added $200 for Teachers. beginning teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District are paid $44,446 and teachers at the top of the scale are making $77,630.

    what a rip

  4. Ok Prop A passed wonderful. Now here are a few questions.

    1. Where did it say in the legal (LEGAL) part of the text of Prop A that teachers would get 70% of the money.

    2. Where is the MOU between UESF and SFUSD I can’t seem to get it from the union so far.

    3. How does one know how much money is collect from the parcel tax? ASK SFUSD That is like asking a Vampire to guard a blood bank.

    4. Why did the teachers in the middle pay scale get screwed again.

  5. First the Paracel tax will generate 31,000,000.00 according to the SF controller and teacher’s will only receive 41% in pay raises on their paycheck. The rest is for teacher training. With the increase in medical insurance for teachers some teacher will end up with 10 dollars a month that’s right ten dollars. UESF refuse to talk about getting the other 30% for teacher’s. Not only that, but UESF allowed Administrators and SEIU to get money from the prop A. Isn’t a wonder what our union does not tell us

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