For many, Measure G, the San Bruno Park School District's parcel tax, was one of the most important ballot measures ever to come before voters in the city.
It was the first time in the history of the school district that voters were asked to pass a parcel tax for the schools.
But in no big surprise, support for Measure G fell short at the polls.
A majority of voters—58 percent—said yes on the parcel tax, which would have lasted for five years and could have generated about $2 million a year for the schools. But that support wasn’t enough. Measure G needed two-thirds approval.
“The way I live my life is I hope for the best but expect the worst,” Scott Curtner, one of the parent leaders on the Yes on G committee, said as voting results started coming in throughout the night. “I never really expected it to pass, but I think it was a battle worth fighting.”
The parcel tax was being touted as a fix to the district's budget crisis to prevent further cuts that district officials say has been a trickle-down problem from the state's own budget crisis. Just last school year, the district was looking to close two schools to save money after sixth graders moved to Parkside Intermediate and reduce the number of combination classes.
After a huge backlash, the school board voted against making that decision.
Now, with the Proposition 30 expected to pass, the cuts may not be as severe. But San Bruno schools also may not be able to secure any other new sources of revenue, which means school closures may be back on the table.
Some of the volunteers who helped spread the word about the parcel tax said they were glad they got involved because they weren’t just fighting for their own children. They were also trying to make sure that the low-income kids who attend the neighborhood schools—and whose families are often least represented at the table when it comes to school district matters—had a voice as well.
What was most frustrating, supporters said, were the skeptics who didn’t want higher taxes period.
“When you’re looking at other cities like Hillsborough or San Carlos, they can easily pass measures, and you wonder, ‘Why can’t we?’ Well there is a reason why we can’t pass it here,” said Alfonso Esqueda, the Parkside Intermediate PTO president, who worked on the Yes on Measure G campaign. “There are a lot of minorities in our area, and they’re not really educated about our government system.”
Esqueda said he still viewed the effort as a success because more voters showed up to the polls this election than for Measure O, the bond measure that failed in the 2011 election.
“The word is getting out there, and with people speaking so negative about it, what they need to realize is this wasn’t brought up by the school board,” Esqueda said. “This was brought up by the people, and the parents from the schools want the money for the schools. So the community will still figure something out.”
Schools trustee Dr. Henry Sanchez said he also believed too many voters weren’t as informed about the parcel tax as they should have been. Now, he said, the school board will have to go back to the drawing board to find another solution for fixing its budget problems.
“The community decided with its choice,” Sanchez said, when reached by phone. “Now the school board will have to make its choices.”
Here are the final results for the election:
San Bruno Park School District Measure G
Completed Precincts: 20 of 20