More than 75 percent of Berkeley voters would support a renewed school parcel tax, a new survey says.
Wednesday, the Berkeley Board of Education will hear results from a telephone survey conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research that asked 600 likely voters earlier this month whether they would endorse a new parcel tax and where they would like that money to go.
The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) wants to place a measure on the November 2006 ballot to succeed the Berkeley Schools Excellence Project and Measure B of 2004, both scheduled to expire at the end of the 2006-2007 school year.
Combined, the two measures provide BUSD with about $19 million to maintain reduced class sizes, library services, music classes and other programs.
According to the new study, 78 percent of those surveyed said they would vote in favor of a measure that would replace the existing tax level. Slightly fewer—77 percent—said they would support a $63 tax raise.
The measure would need a two-thirds majority vote to pass. It would sunset in 10 years.
A comparable study for Measure B in 2004 found that 75 percent of those surveyed supported the tax. Voters passed Measure B by 72 percent.
The survey, which was conducted in English and Spanish, also asked respondents to rank school programs they deemed most important for funding.
Class size reduction, teacher training, academic enrichment for high achievers and academic tutoring topped the list.
Longer school days and school years, landscaping and free school lunches were branded least important.
The proposed measure would levy a tax on private properties at approximately 23 cents per square foot and on commercial properties at 34 cents per square foot, yielding a total of $19.5 million. The rate would increase with annual cost-of-living adjustments.
Low-income seniors would be eligible for exemption.
The Berkeley Board of Education meets Wednesday at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, at 7:30 p.m., to hear the voter research report and terms of the suggested bond measure..