The San Diego Unified school board voted narrowly Tuesday night to spend $130,000 to hire political consultant Larry Remer to research and develop a parcel tax proposal.

Such a tax could bring extra revenue into the school district as it faces what is expected to be another year of budget cuts handed down from the state. Unlike a facilities bond, a parcel tax could be used to pay for programs and employees, not just buildings and technology. School board member John Lee Evans said that while voters turned down taxes from the states, “it’s another thing when we say, ‘We want money to go to our own schools.’”

But the idea faces criticism from several corners. Opponents of a labor agreement for the facilities bond have said they will throw their weight against the parcel tax. The county Taxpayers Association is already against it. School board member John de Beck, who proposed such a tax last year, said that he worried that nobody had down the groundwork with the teachers union, which proved instrumental in passing a parcel tax in San Francisco.

One key group stepped forward in support of the tax: California Charter Schools Association regional director Lisa Berlanga said her group would help promote a tax if a fair share of the money went to charter schools, citing the success of a similar initiative that included charters in Oakland.


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