Even as state lawmakers debate making it easier for school districts to pass parcel taxes, a new report finds that lowering the passing threshold to 55 percent of the vote would not expand the use of parcel taxes to poorer communities.
The Public Policy Institute of California looked at 17 years of parcel tax data from across California and found that a 55 percent passing threshold would have boosted the success rate for all parcel tax elections from 59 percent to 89 percent. However, the elections garnering at least 55 percent approval were mostly in wealthy and white communities.
"It is hard to say that lowering the vote threshold for parcel tax passage would expand their reach into new areas of the state or to more disadvantaged students,” said Eric McGhee, one of the report’s authors. "This change would likely make it easier for more of the same kind of districts to pass parcel taxes and for districts that already have them to pass more.”
There were parcel taxes that failed but had at least 55 percent of the vote in June 2012, November 2010, March 2004 and April 1992.
Parcel tax votes that received less than 55 percent were held in August 2007 and July 1988.
See which East Bay school districts receive the most money per student from parcel taxes in the chart above.