Measure H Shy of Two-Thirds Majority

With all of the the precincts now reporting, the New Haven Unified School District tax measure appears to have fallen short again with 62 percent of votes in its favor, which is still shy of the required two-thirds majority needed to win.

Updated 1:01 a.m.

The mood at the New Haven Teachers Association office Tuesday night was less festive than it was last May.

Last year, when the New Haven Unified School District was pushing Measure B, district officials, teachers, youth and community supporters were gathered in hopes of what they were sure would be a win. Then the election results trickled in — , followed by a recount and, later, officially deemed .

This Tuesday night, only few were present at the NHTA headquarters, waiting in nervous anticipation of the results in the election for , New Haven’s rebooted parcel tax measure. By 9:45 p.m., only NHTA President Charmaine Banther and two teachers were left.

“We’re nervous,” said NHTA President Charmaine Banther, who chaired the Measure H committee, said before the election Tuesday night. “Getting two-thirds of the vote is hard to do.”

Though results are not yet official, all 36 precincts had reported by 12:55 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The measure received 62.29 percent of the votes in its favor, which is still shy of the required two-thirds majority.

Earlier Tuesday night when only less then half of the precincts had reported, Banther remained hopefull Measure H would pass.

“If it doesn’t, it won’t be school as we hoped, but we’ll figure something out. We always do the best we can for our kids,” she said around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, Banther thanked those who had campaigned, volunteered and supported the measure.

“Our community has been so supportive, and we’ve had parents and teachers and students all working for the same cause and that’s to make sure our children have what they need for next year,” Banther said.

If passed, Measure H would “support high-quality local elementary, middle and high school education, to prepare students for college and careers with outstanding core academic programs in reading, writing, math and science, with highly qualified teachers and classified staff,” according to the ballot statement.

The measure would levy a $180 per parcel tax for a period of four years, beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2016.

If approved, the measure would raise $3 million for the school district each year, according to the ballot statement.

The school district currently faces $10.7 million in cuts for the 2012-13 school year, with if state voters don’t approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan in November.

As a precautionary measure, New Haven issued for teachers and classified staff earlier this year and is planning to increase class sizes and eliminate elementary school specialists and middle school electives.

On top of that, the district cut the school year by five days this year with a total of six unpaid furlough days for staff. Three additional non-student days are planned for the 2012-13 school year, adding up to a total of nine unpaid days for staff.

Banther said the teachers association has developed two scenarios for what next school year may look like — one if Measure H passes, the other if Measure H fails.

If Measure H were to pass, then some of the cuts the district faces may be mitigated. But Banther couldn’t speak on the alternative yet.

“We’re hopeful that measure H passes because the other [scenario] is quite grim,” Banther said.


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Barry Becker June 10, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Ideas for fixing budget - Delay progress on the multi-modal rail station in favor of school funding - Consider selling the UC Sports Center to a private concern like 24 hour fitness - Take this opportunity to renegotiate with unions. - Install more traffic cams. Everyone hates the tickets, but they probably generate a lot of revenue. - Charge for after-school programs. School is free, but why can't there be a small tuition requirement for after school programs that are just going to be cut if we don't? There could be exceptions for families in dire economic straights. - The kinds of tasks parent volunteers are typically asked to do today revolve mostly around fundraising. I think parents are capable of more.
Barry Becker June 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Ideas for making the schools more efficient - Reward good teachers, and fire the bad ones. When teachers are let go because of budget cuts, is seniority the primary metric for determining who stays? There may be new teachers that are very effective, but are let go because they simply have not been teaching as long. - Can we create a charter school for Union City? Having a choice for teachers and students about where they want to go, would improve the quality of all schools. This may not be a popular idea with the teacher union or the school board, but it would probably be good for teachers and students. Teachers would have the opportunity to get better compensation based on performance, at the expense of some union protections. - Use Khan academy and other online resources to lessen load on instructors. Monitor online progress. This would make a larger class size more manageable. - More self-paced learning. Students should be able to skip ahead by doing well on comprehensive exams. Why do all students have to progress in lock-step according to age?
Edward June 11, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Because everything you mentioned will go to Alameda County, Union City and private schools and not a dime to NHUSD. Not replacing retireing teachers, eleiminating electives and enlarge class sizes will cover the shortfall for Now but it will also require parents to be more pro-active in helping their own kids learn at home.
Edward June 11, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Or they could come back with a "REAL percentage property tax Idea like .05% of assesed value of ALL real eatate in the District and raise some REAL Money off the Wealthy land owners. The Flat Parcel tax hurt the poor andthe large multi-million dollar Apartment Complexes, full of Kids, got an almost" free ride". A person with a $300,000.00 assesed Value home or condo would pay $150.00 per year. A landlord with a 5 million dolar complex would pay $2,500 for his 30 Units full of kids. 20 million dollar business, like Wal-Mart, would pay $10,000 back to the community. And this time do not exclude the over age 65 crowd and make them fill out any complicated forms they do not understand "every yea" like measure "H" didr to get the exemption they would not need in a percentage type Tax. They were grandfathered into prop 13 low assesments anyways so they would most likly pay less than $100.00 per year. Alameda County already will wave taxes on homeowners overage 65for as long as they live, then, collect the tax due on the property when the heirs take control.
Tim June 11, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Now, THAT would piss off the NHTA like you can't imagine!


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