Reauthorizes a parcel tax for 14 additional years to continue funding the Oakland Unified School District’s college and career readiness program for high school students.
What the Measure Would Do
Measure H would reauthorize Measure N, a parcel tax passed in 2014, to continue funding for the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) college and career readiness program for high school students.
Like Measure N, Measure H would levy a tax of $120 per parcel and include exemptions for low-income people and seniors.
The revenue would continue to fund the implementation of a college and career readiness program. This program takes a comprehensive approach to high school education in Oakland that integrates challenging academics with career-based learning and real-world work experiences and has five primary goals:
- Reduce the dropout rate.
- Increase the four-year graduation rate.
- Improve college and career readiness.
- Support middle school students’ successful transition to high school.
- Reduce disparities in student achievement and student access to career pathways based on race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, English learner status, special needs status and place of residency.
This measure is structured to:
- Maintain the current tax rate of $120 per parcel.
- Include a cost-of-living adjustment to keep pace with inflation.
- Sunset in 14 years. Based on the current end date of June 30, 2025, this measure would extend the parcel tax to 2039.
Measure N currently generates $11.5 million per year. Of this funding, 90% goes directly to schools, with the remaining 10% being held centrally by the city.
The program cites successes that include increased consistency of funding and staffing, streamlined learning pathways and overall stronger connections between students and school resources such as counselors. It has also conducted some evaluations to better understand what can be improved and at the end of 2021 identified several concerns to address: the scalability of high-quality paid internships, the need for additional education for teachers and the consistency of facilities that can accommodate new equipment such as Career Technical Education (often referred to as CTE) labs.
In January 2022, a working group began meeting to advise the Alameda County Superintendent on how best to extend Measure N. Composed of school board members, educators and Measure N commission members, the working group undertook an extensive process of assessing the current program funded by Measure N.
The district has secured funding through a parcel tax because there is no avenue for additional funding for this purpose from the state.
Measure H was placed on the ballot by the OUSD. As a special tax, this measure needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
This measure aims at providing an equitable pathway to high school and college success by funding programming for career advancement opportunities for high school students. It also aims to reduce disparities in student achievement. Based on the reporting done on the programming funded by Measure N, there have been significant successes, including an overall increase in the graduation rate (with the graduation rate for African American male students up 14%), an 11% decrease in the dropout rate overall (17% for African American male students), a 14% increase in the number of students eligible for a four-year college and an addition of more than 700 internships per year.
Continuing to fund this program would likely ensure ongoing and further successes. Maintaining programming also would eliminate any disruption for students.
The structure of the parcel tax includes low-income and senior exemptions so that the financial impact would not disproportionately burden low-income homeowners.
- Measure H would not create a new tax or increase the existing parcel tax beyond the cost-of-living adjustments specified in the measure.
- The measure would maintain stable funding to operate the OUSD college and career readiness program, which has had proven positive impacts for all students, especially African American male students. The continuation of the program would eliminate disruptions to positive outcomes for students.
- The funding would be subject to annual reports and independent monitoring to ensure it’s being used appropriately.
- The structure of the parcel tax includes low-income and senior exemptions and establishes a reasonable sunset date.
Parcel taxes are regressive taxes that should not supplant support for essential services, which should come from the Oakland General Fund.