Argument Against Measure B

Argument Against Measure B

We oppose Measure B, the school bond measure, because its proponents are not being honest with the voters. The Alameda Unified School District claims, “By law, all funds must be spent in Alameda.” This is a deceptive statement. The bond will raise $298 million that will go to Alameda schools, but taxpayers must pay to banks an additional $217 million for “debt serving” and interest.

Figures don’t lie. Buried in the school district’s own “Tax Rate Statement,” the district explains it will collect $515 million (actually $514,938,900) over a 35-year period and only $298 million (58%) of your tax money will go to schools. During that time the school district says it will collect $14.7 million per year from Alameda’s property taxpayers to pay for this bond.

Parcel taxes are more financially responsible and cheaper! Alameda voters have repeatedly supported parcel taxes, like Measures B1 and A, where almost 100% of your tax money goes to our schools. That would be pay-as-you-go with no interest or “debt servicing.” A 20-year parcel tax raising the same amount of money for our schools would save taxpayers $217 million.

The school district already has stacked three other tax measures it is currently collecting from Alameda’s taxpayers: Measure I, a bond from 2014 ($19.6 million per year); Measure B1, a parcel tax from 2016 ($12.5 million per year) and Measure A, another parcel tax from 2020 ($10.5 million per year). Add it up. If Measure B passes then Alamedans will be paying over $57 million per year in school taxes. This means that every building in Alameda will be paying an average of $2,680 per year. Additionally, we know that large buildings like Target and Safeway do not pay their fair share because some of the measures have a cap allowing them to pay less and causing homeowners to pay more.

Sadly, some supporters of Measure B have tried to divert your attention from these facts by making false personal attacks on those of us who oppose Measure B. Please do not let false personal attacks obscure the numbers which the school district, itself, has published.

Finally, because Measure B is a bond measure, there are no exemptions for seniors and the disabled. This is especially difficult for those on fixed incomes.

100% of your taxes should go to our schools, not 58%, with banks getting $42%. This makes no fiscal sense. Please vote NO on Measure B.

This op-ed was co-authored by:
• Janet Gibson, former Alameda School Board Member, retired Alameda teacher, mother of a current Alameda teacher
• Trish Spencer, former Alameda School Board Member, former Alameda Mayor and current City Councilmember
• Marcus Crawley, President of the Alameda County Taxpayers’ Association
• Leland Traiman, retired Nurse Practitioner, J.D.
• David Howard, parent of Alameda school child