Foothill-De Anza Community College District Parcel Tax, Measure E (November 2010)

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A Foothill-De Anza Community College District Parcel Tax, Measure E was on the November 2, 2010 ballot for voters in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in Santa Clara County.[1] It was defeated.[2]

The tax would have been $69/year for six years. Based on the number of real estate parcels in the district (about 220,000), this would have generated about $7 million/year for the college district.[3]

The Foothill-De Anza Community College District supports two colleges, Foothill College in Los Altos Hills and De Anza College in Cupertino. The combined budget of the two colleges is $180 million annually. About 45,000 students attend college in the district.

If Measure E had passed, the Foothill-De Anza college district would have been only the second college district in California history to pass a parcel tax. The first to pass was San Mateo Community College parcel tax, Measure G (June 2010).[4]

Election results

  • Yes: 73,404 (58.00%)
  • No: 53,162 (42.00%) Defeatedd

These election results are from the Santa Clara County elections division as of November 27, 2010.

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


Supporters included Betsy Bechtel, a member of the college district's board. She said, "Never have been things been quite so desperate as they are now. All of these school districts in the state are saying to [the legislature] that 'If you are not going to take care of us, then we are going to take care of our own on our own.'"[4]

Bruce Swenson, board president, said, "We are right in heart of Silicon Valley, where education is held in a high regard. Many jobs require a highly educated workforce, and they are well aware that our economy is based on a highly educated citizenry."[4] He also said, "It will help maintain core academic classes in science, math and writing, and also continue job training for health care professionals, such as nurses and paramedics, and prepare students for transfer."[5]

The editorial board of the San Jose Mercury News endorsed Measure E.[6]


Doug McNea of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association was an opponent. He said that adding a parcel tax during an economic downturn is "kicking property owners when they're down."[7]

The local chapter of the California School Employees Association came out against Measure E. Leo Contreras, president of the chapter, said, ""The administrators are basically being allowed to do whatever they want to do, which includes overspending the district's budget...There are no repercussions for mismanagement in this district."[8]

Opponents of Measure E pointed to the salaries earned by some instructors at Foothill-De Anza as a reason to doubt whether the district really needs new funding.[9]

Examples of annual salaries as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle are:

  • A photography teacher: $208,169
  • A computer instructor: $222,791
  • A maintenance worker: $93,706[9]


  • 61 employees earn more than $150,000
  • 415 employees earn at least $100,000[9]

There are approximatley 500 full-time faculty members at Foothill-De Anza. 83% of them earn more than $80,000 in base pay and, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "are among the highest-paid community college instructors in the state."[9]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Measure E: To protect Foothill College/De Anza College from State budget cuts, provide local funding that cannot be taken by the State, preserve affordable, quality education for students, including:
  • Core academic classes including math, science and writing;
  • Training for careers in healthcare, nursing, paramedics, technology, engineering and sciences; and
  • Preparing students to transfer to 4-year universities,

Shall Foothill - De Anza Community College District levy $69 per parcel annually for six years with citizen oversight and no money for administrators’ salaries?[10]

See also

External links