John Swett Unified School District parcel tax, Measure J (November 2010)

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A John Swett Unified School District parcel tax, Measure J ballot proposition was on the November 2, 2010 ballot for voters in the John Swett Unified School District in Contra Costa County.[1] It was defeated.

The tax, if voters had approved it, would have been:

  • $96 per parcel, per year, for owners of residential and other vacant parcels, including large tracts of agricultural land.
  • 1.5 cents per square foot for owners of industrial and commercial properties, including the ConocoPhillips refinery, which would pay about $700,000 a year under Measure J.[2]

The tax would have been in effect for four years, generating about $1.7 million a year for the school district.

The new tax would have been in addition to an amount of about $42/year per $100,000 of assessed valuation that property owners in the district are paying as the result of 2008's Measure A.

In the aftermath of Measure J's defeat, Brian Colombo, president of the John Swett school board, said, "I'm disappointed and frankly, a little bit dismayed, at the poor support it received. There's not going to be any financial relief coming. I'm hoping we can maintain what we have."[3]

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for approval.

Election results

Measure J
Defeatedd No1,99245.69%
Yes 2,368 54.31%
These final, certified results are from the Contra Costa County elections office.


  • The editorial board of the Oakland Tribune was in favor of a "yes" vote.[4]
  • The editorial board of the Contra Costa Times was in favor of a "yes" vote.[5]


A campaign against Measure J was run by Rodeo refinery ConocoPhillips.[2]

A spokesperson for the refinery said, "We support a no vote on the measure. It places an unfair burden on local businesses, including the Rodeo refinery, which has been a longtime and consistent supporter of the John Swett Unified School District."[2]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

To maintain and improve academic programs including math, science, reading and writing; fund computer technology, music and arts; and retain highly qualified teachers; shall John Swett Unified School District levy a special tax of $96 per parcel, except for industrial/commercial parcels which are levied at $0.015 per square foot (see voter pamphlet), with citizens’ oversight, senior exemption and all funds spent at neighborhood schools and not taken by the State?[6]

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