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Final Tally: West County School Measures Win Big, If Unevenly

Final election results show that the two property tax measures for West Contra Costa County schools – Measures E and G – passed easily, though the margin of victory varied significantly by community.

 

Final election returns for the Nov. 6 election confirm that the two property tax measures for West Contra Costa schools – Measures E and G – won handily, though support was not evenly distributed across the district.

"I'm thrilled with the support with community support we had for both measures," said Charles Ramsey, school board president for the large West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Measure E

Measure E is a $380-million, long-term bond program to replace or upgrade aging school facilities. It required 55 percent approval and received 64.4 percent, according to the Contra Costa County Elections Division.

Approval for Measure E surpassed the 55 percent threshold in six of the seven largest communities in the district, with San Pablo leading the list at 71.9 percent approval, followed by Richmond at 68.2 percent.

Kensington and El Cerrito ranked third and fourth respectively with 67.1 percent and 65 percent. The lowest support was seen in Pinole, where the approval rate fell below 55 percent to 54.3 percent. The measure still won, since passage was determined by the total district vote.

A full table of results for Measures E and G is at the bottom of this article.

Measure E bonds would add an estimated $48 in property tax per $100,000 of net assessed valuation, on top of property taxes from five previous bond measures approved by voters for West Contra Costa schools since 1998. Property taxes for schools in West Contra Costa rank among the highest in the state.

"We're happy all our schools will be fixed up," Ramsey said. "We're not leaving any schools behind." The district has rebuilt or rehabilitated many of its schools in recent years, including El Cerrito High, with the income from the previous voter-approved bonds. El Cerrito's Portola Middle School and Fairmont Elementary School are both scheduled to be rebuilt.

Measure G

While Measure E addressed construction needs, Measure G was designed to support academic programs. It extends the current parcel tax for West Contra Costa schools – 7.2 cents per square foot of building area – to June 30, 2018.

Measure G needed two-thirds approval to pass and received 75.6 percent. It also surpassed the two-thirds threshold in each of the seven largest communities, with the biggest margin of approval in Kensington, with an 84.5 percent yes vote, followed by El Cerrito at 79.3 percent.

El Sobrante passed it by the lowest margin, with 68.8 percent approval rate, while Hercules had the next lowest of 69.3 percent.

Ramsey said the high approval rate for Measure G was probably in the top two or three percent in the state for parcel tax victories.

The results for Measure G contrasted with the previous parcel tax measure for West County schools, Measure K on the June ballot.

Measure K received 65.52 percent approval, short of the necessary two-thirds. It would have both extended the current parcel tax and increased it to 10.2 cents per square foot of building area, instead of keeping it at 7.2 cents per square foot as Measure G does.

Measure K received two-thirds approval in only three of the seven main communities in the district – El Cerrito, Kensington and Richmond (and just barely in Richmond). 

Final results for Measures E and G in the Nov. 6, 2012 election:

Meas. E
Yes   

Meas. E
No    Meas. E
% Yes  Meas. G
Yes  

Meas. G
No   

Meas. G
% Yes  El Cerrito 7319 3947 65.0% 9054 2358 79.3% El Sobrante 2735 2106 56.5% 3331 1510 68.8% Hercules 4818 3605 57.2% 5830 2579 69.3% Kensington 2082 1019 67.1% 2668 488 84.5% Pinole 4113 3465 54.3% 5296 2307 69.7% Richmond 21009 9793 68.2% 23769 7031 77.2% San Pablo 4055 1582 71.9% 4420 1178 79.0%

– Table compiled by Patch from precinct results from the Contra Costa County Elections Division

Giorgio C. December 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Come attend the next Community Budget Advisory Committee meeting and have a voice in how your Parcel Tax dollars are being spent http://www.wccusd.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=107 I am going to request that the district provide a speaker at one of the next CBAC meetings to explain the issues pertaining to teacher quality (including qualifications and experience) and how decisions pertaining to school site staffing and teacher support are being made. For bond measure monies, attend the next Citizens Bond Oversight Committee meeting http://wccusd-bond-oversight.com/
jay wilson December 10, 2012 at 10:40 PM
The Contra Costa Times refused to endorse Measure E, yet it passed anyway.The district had already passed a billion dollars worth of construction bonds, routinely runs over budget on all its projects, and is already up against its borrowing limit. Not only that, interest rates will skyrocket long before the measure E bonds issue. My advice: sell your West County home in the next 18 months.
Ira Sharenow June 12, 2013 at 12:25 AM
From what I can tell the district has not yet purchased the bonds, but interest rates have crept up. This may mean an extra $4 million per year in payments by WCCUSD on behalf of the taxpayers.

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