January 19, 2021

Initial voting results show strong support for Berkeley school measures

Initial election results suggest voters may have supported all three Berkeley Unified ballot measures, which would generate significant funding for school facilities, teacher and staff salaries, and maintenance work.

As of about 12:10 a.m. Wednesday, Alameda County had released results from 61% of Berkeley’s precincts, as well as mail-in ballots, showing measures E and G with 79% support, and Measure H with 82%. Measures E and H, both parcel taxes, require two-thirds of the vote to pass, while G, a bond measure, needs 55%.

The school district measures were the only local items on Berkeley voters’ Super Tuesday ballots. The city is likely to place multiple measures on the November ballot instead.

More than 15,000 Berkeley votes have been counted since the polls closed at 8 p.m. Berkeley has nearly 80,000 registered voters.

Berkeley’s Measure E is a brand new tax that would fund teacher and staff compensation throughout the school district. The ballot measure’s passage is a condition of the contract agreement that the district and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers reached in the fall after a string of protests and wildcat strikes. The district says the revenue from Measure E — a 12-year, $10 million parcel tax at a rate of 12.4 cents per square foot — would enable BUSD to provide its staff with the promised 12% raises over two years.

Measures H and G are renewals of an existing tax and bond, albeit at higher rates. Measure H — a 10-year, $7.3 million parcel tax at a rate of 9 cents per square foot —would fund maintenance and grounds staff, supplies, contracts and more. Measure G is a $380 million facilities bond, costing property owners about $45 per $100,000 of assessed value. The revenue would go towards the district’s grand plans for its facilities, from a seismic retrofit of Berkeley High’s Little Theater to classroom construction projects.

The Committee for Berkeley Public Schools, formed to support the 2020 measures, raised more than $150,000. School officials, teachers and supporters led an active campaign over the past few months.

The state and federal officials representing Berkeley all look headed for decisive reelections. State Sen. Nancy Skinner ran unopposed, while State Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks is leading her race with 80% (50% of precincts reporting) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee is ahead with 89% (33% of precincts reporting).

Alameda County’s Measure C, a sales tax for early education and childhood healthcare, has 60% in favor with 49% of precincts reporting.

Berkeleyside updated this story after publication to reflect new results. Staff will update this story again on Wednesday morning.

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