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SCA 17: School District Parcel Taxes (2008)


SCA 17 (2008) allows local school districts to approve a local parcel tax with a 55 percent majority rather than the two-thirds majority currently required.  By lowering the threshold, more school districts will be able to successfully pass a local parcel tax, which will help them raise the money they need to maintain a quality education.  SCA 17 still requires a supermajority in passing a tax.

For more information, you can read the SCA 17 "Fact Sheet" prepared by a member of Senator Simitian's staff.

Final Status and Text

SCA 17 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Did not pass the Legislature

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

What the Bill Does
The California Constitution currently requires a two-thirds majority of a school district’s voters to approve a local parcel tax (a flat tax usually assessed per lot of land, regardless of market value).  SCA 17 lowers that requirement to 55 percent.

Given the State’s on-going financial crisis, school districts are now facing severe cutbacks in funding.  Worse still, it is unlikely that the State will be able to provide adequate funds in the foreseeable future.  Now more than ever, school districts need to find ways to help them maintain a consistent quality of education.  SCA 17 gives school district much-needed flexibility in raising local educational funds.

In addition to helping school districts raise revenues, SCA 17 will also given them more power to fund programs that are important to them.  Most State funding is earmarked for particular programs.  When it comes to raising money that school districts can control, there’s not much choice.  A parcel tax is the only way local school districts can raise discretionary revenue.  SCA 17 will increase local choice for local education needs, while ensuring that every dollar generated goes to the school district for locally identified purposes.  In the past, school districts have used parcel tax money to enhance instructional programs, hire additional teachers, and support libraries, music, and arts programs— all reflecting priorities in their districts.

California still lags behind most states in per pupil spending.  Though the current financial crisis will lead to reduced state spending on education, schools do not have to languish as a result.  Voters can take local action to keep education strong, as they did when they recently passed a similar proposition on local school construction bonds, lowering the approval threshold from two-thirds to 55 percent.  SCA 17 conforms the threshold required for parcel taxes with the voter-approved threshold for school bonds.

How Can I Help?

If your organization supports SCA 17, please send Senator Simitian a letter of support.  You can use this sample support letter as the basis for your own.

News & Press Releases about SCA 17

06/09/2011 - Waging a years-long battle for more school funding