A Guide to the Santa Cruz County Ballot Measures

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Icon by Kaileen Smith
Icon by Kaileen Smith

The California presidential primary is only a few weeks away. But on June 7, Santa Cruz County will decide on various ballot measures related to increasing funding for education. Voters can expect to see the following measures on the June ballot.

Measure J: Lakeside Joint School District School Parcel Tax Measure

The Lakeside Joint School District is a public elementary school district located in Los Gatos in Santa Clara County. However, as students of the district reside in both the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties, the measure will be on the ballot for both counties. Currently, the Lakeside Joint School District receives a parcel tax of $311 per parcel per year. That tax is set to expire in 2017. Measure J would increase the parcel tax to $820 per parcel per year for 10 years, beginning July 1, 2016. The proceeds would go toward teacher training, science programs and classroom technology upgrades. Opponents of Measure J cite the district’s test scores of students who are English learners, highlighting that 49 percent of English learners attained English proficiency in the 2014-15 school year. Measure J requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

Icon by Kaileen Smith
Icon by Kaileen Smith

Measure Q: Cabrillo Community College District Bond Issue

Cabrillo Community College is ranked number one in university transfers to UC Santa Cruz, and it’s hoping to stay that way through Measure Q, which would fund more opportunities for capacity-building. The measure covers a range of issues, from improving campus safety and making Cabrillo’s campus more handicap accessible to preparing students for university transfer and/or jobs. Measure Q would issue a general bond of $310 million. However, the estimated total cost of the loan, including principal and interest, is over $620 million. To pay the bonds back, the required property tax is $23.27 per $100,000 in assessed property value. Measure Q requires a 55 percent majority to pass.

Icon by Kaileen Smith
Icon by Kaileen Smith

Measure R: Live Oak School District Parcel Tax

 The Live Oak School District contains seven schools in Santa Cruz County and currently receives a parcel tax of $84 per parcel per year. Approved in 2008, the tax is set to run out in 2017. Voters’ approval of Measure R would mean an increase in the parcel tax to $98 per parcel per year for 12 years, beginning July 2018. The measure’s language indicates revenue would only be spent on maintaining educational programs. It specifies: “Under no circumstances shall any of the proceeds of the quality education and local control parcel tax be used for administrators’ salaries, benefits or pensions.” Chairwoman of the Yes on R campaign Elizabeth Schilling told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that the previous parcel tax, Measure A, has raised $500,000 annually for the Live Oak School District and Measure R would increase funding to $600,000 annually. Measure R requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

Icon by Kaileen Smith
Icon by Kaileen Smith

Measure S: Santa Cruz Libraries Community Facilities District, California, Bond Issue and Parcel Tax

The 10 branches of the Santa Cruz Public Library (SCPL) system span all over the county, from Boulder Creek to La Selva. The libraries provide patrons with community classes and programs, as well as access to technology. The SCPL cites that its branches have “old, worn out, leaky roofs,” “outdated boilers that need frequent repair” and “old bathrooms that need major renovation.” Measure S proposes to improve and expand upon branch infrastructure by issuing a bond of $67 million and imposing an annual parcel tax for 30 years of up to $49.50 per residential unit and $86 per commercial, agricultural and recreational land parcels. The Santa Cruz Libraries Facilities Financing Authority estimated $4.15 million in revenue, about 32 percent of the library system’s $13 million annual budget, according to the SCPL website. Measure S requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

The deadline to register for the June 7 election is May 23. California voters can register at registertovote.ca.gov.

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