With the passing of a parcel tax Tuesday night, San Francisco voters chose to reinvest in public education where the state and federal governments aren’t.
Proposition G needed a simple majority to enact a parcel tax on homeowners that would generate $50 million annually, largely for teacher pay. As of Wednesday afternoon, the measure had gathered more than 59 percent of the vote.
For the next 20 years, San Francisco Unified School District teachers can rely on a fixed, seven-percent raise to combat the high cost of living that makes it difficult to remain in the city. The other 25 percent of the revenue will go toward professional development for educators, investment in new technology, and to charter schools.
An annual public report on the use of these funds is required, as is an independent oversight committee to make sure that the money is being spent on what was promised.
As proponents dropped off signatures in January to place the measure on the June ballot, speakers commented on the teacher shortage and feelings of financial anxiety that affect students.
“When we lose those teachers that our students are connected to, it has a grave impact,” said Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell, president of the San Francisco Board of Education. “Keeping teachers in San Francisco is a very high priority of ours.”
The parcel tax comes 10 years after voters approved a $198 parcel tax that was set to expire in 2028, and eight years after voters approve a special facilities tax at $32.20 per parcel until 2030. Senior citizens who own and live in a home are exempt from the new tax, which begins July 1 and sunsets in 2038.
Teachers at San Francisco Unified School District will also see an 11-percent base salary increase and one-time, three-percent bonus thanks to a prolonged bargaining process by the United Educators of San Francisco.