Foothill-De Anza Community College District Parcel Tax, Measure E (November 2010)
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.
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).
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.'"
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." 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."
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."
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."
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.
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
- 61 employees earn more than $150,000
- 415 employees earn at least $100,000
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."
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
| 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:
Shall Foothill - De Anza Community College District levy $69 per parcel annually for six years with citizen oversight and no money for administrators’ salaries?
- Website of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District
- List of local measures on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Santa Clara County
- Mercury News, "Foothill-De Anza Community College District proposes $69 annual parcel tax," August 3, 2010
- Mercury News, "All parcel taxes for schools fail in Santa Clara County; bonds pass," November 5, 2010
- Biz Journals, "College funding measure headed to November ballot," August 4, 2010
- Mercury News, "College district looking to make history," August 19, 2010
- Mountain View Voice, "Measure E to raise $42 million," October 15, 2010
- San Jose Mercury News, "'Yes' vote on Measures E, I, L will bolster area schools," October 8, 2010
- Los Altos Patch, "Community College District Asks Voters to Dig a Little Deeper for Funds," October 23, 2010
- San Jose Mercury News, "Foothill-De Anza's parcel tax faces concerns about spending, heat from union president," October 29, 2010
- San Francisco Chronicle, "High salaries cast doubt on Foothill-De Anza colleges' parcel tax," October 28, 2010