California Voters Turn Down Measure To Fund Schools

California voters take to the polls
Photo credit Mario Tama/Getty Images

Voters in California were not in a spending mood on Super Tuesday, with many Bay Area and statewide measures apparently headed for defeat.

Proposition 13 — the state’s largest school bond in history at $15 billion — needed a simple majority to pass. But it did not appear to be on a winning track as of Wednesday morning with almost 56% of votes against it.

The same was true of many local parcel tax measures for schools, which required a two-thirds majority to pass.

KCBS Radio political analyst Larry Gerston says it appears the public is taking a pause when it comes to tax measures.  

“Over the past few years, as the economy here has done much, much better, the voters have been very generous passing bonds and parcel taxes,” Gerston told KCBS Radio. “But there gets to a point, I think, where people say ‘Hey, let’s see what you do with what we’ve given you.”

The recent skyrocketing property values in the Bay Area could also be to blame, as many new homeowners could have done the math and decided they simply can’t afford big parcel tax increases.

One of the few local tax measures to claim victory is Measure C in Alameda County, with a 61% voter approval to raise the sales tax by a half percent to pay for childcare and early education.

Kristen Spanos, CEO of First 5 Alameda, told KCBS Radio that she’s pleased with the community’s investment in kids as a priority.

“We’re happy to see that the voters of Alameda County are supporting children, supporting the future well-being of our communities and for our kids,” Spanos said.

Gerston notes, it’s possible that many of these bonds and tax measures will be scaled back and repackaged for the November general election, saying, “it takes 2-3 times for a ballot issue to pass.”

Written by Mallory Somera.