Voters generous to school districts, but Sacramento City’s parcel tax falling short

Dave Foust, with Seward L. Schreder Construction, Inc. and the Superintendent on the Class Size Reduction project looks over blueprints, Monday, July 11, 2016 at Ethel Baker Elementary School in Sacramento.
Dave Foust, with Seward L. Schreder Construction, Inc. and the Superintendent on the Class Size Reduction project looks over blueprints, Monday, July 11, 2016 at Ethel Baker Elementary School in Sacramento.

Six school districts across the Sacramento region won voter approval Tuesday for hundreds of millions of dollars to help pay for campus construction and fund school programs.

Among large districts, the lone blemish so far was the Sacramento City Unified School District, which remained just shy of the two-thirds majority needed for Measure G, a $75 annual parcel tax designed to generate $7 million annually for various programs for disadvantaged students.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Measure G had received 65 percent approval. More than 250,000 ballots countywide Tuesday remain uncounted, according to Sacramento County Registrar Jill LaVine.

“We’re still holding out hope until the final provisional ballots are counted,” said Trustee Jessie Ryan, who chaired the district’s three-person parcel tax committee. “But to be so close to the margin of victory and still fall short is very disheartening.”

In Davis, 71 percent approved Measure H, a yearly tax of $620 on each parcel of taxable real property for eight years for the Davis Joint Unified School District. The measure will raise $9.5 million a year to support math, reading and science programs and reduced class sizes for elementary grades.

While parcel taxes require two-thirds approval, bond measures require 55 percent. And bond measures passed handily in suburbs from Elk Grove to Roseville.

In the San Juan Unified School District across much of northeast Sacramento County, 68 percent carried Measure P to victory, clearing the way for $750 million in bonds to make repairs, upgrades and enhancements at aging schools. Property owners will pay $60 per $100,000 of property value annually.

In Elk Grove, 69 percent authorized Measure M to construct, rehabilitate or replace schools or acquire property for schools in the Elk Grove Unified School District. The measure authorizes $476 million, raised through $38 per $100,000 of property value annually.

Voters in the Roseville Joint Union High School District, which includes the Antelope area, passed Measure D with more than 60 percent support. The $96 million facilities bond will be supported annually by a $14.99 parcel tax for each $100,000 of assessed value.

Two facilities bond measures in Galt won approval. Galt Joint Union High School District’s Measure E received nearly 63 percent of the vote and will raise $36 million through an estimated $30 per $100,000 of a property’s assessed value.

Measure K will raise $19.7 million on behalf of the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, also by charging $30 per $100,000 of property value. Measure K passed with 64 percent approval.

Throughout the region, voters returned incumbents to school boards. And candidates in Sacramento, Folsom and San Juan school districts bypassed elections altogether due to lack of competition.

In the Sacramento district, adjunct instructor Michael Minnick of Sacramento City College and community activist Mai Vang will join the board for the first time after facing no opposition. Incumbents Christina Pritchett and Ryan also were unopposed.

In the San Juan district, three seats were up for election. Incumbents Pam Costa and Saul Hernandez will return, joined by legislative consultant Paula Marie Villescaz, the only other candidate to file.

In Folsom Cordova Unified, only two people filed to run: Board President JoAnne Reinking and newcomer Chris Clark, a Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce board member.

Natomas Unified School District Trustees Susan Heredia and Scott Dosick retained their seats and will be joined by newcomer Micah Grant, a press secretary at the Board of Equalization and an African American Republican.

Five candidates ran for two seats on the Washington Unified School District board in West Sacramento. Washington Unified school board President Alicia Cruz and incumbent Coby Pizzotti kept their seats. They will be joined by children’s advocate Jackie Thu-Huong Wong.

Four candidates vied for two seats on the Davis Joint Unified School District school board. Incumbent Alan Fernandes kept his seat, while UC Davis professor Bob Poppenga pushed out veteran board member Susan Lovenburg.

In the Elk Grove Unified School District, three incumbents were returned to office: Nancy Chaires Espinoza, Chet Madison Sr., and Carmine S. Forcina. Incumbent Anthony “Tony” Perez was unopposed.