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As I wrote today, San Diego Unified is weighing whether to ask voters to approve a new temporary tax to keep classes small as budgets are crunched. Here’s what the school board candidates think of it:

  • Kevin Beiser, who is running for Katherine Nakamura’s seat, backs the tax and is especially excited that much of it would go to keep classes small, a centerpiece of his campaign. “I don’t think it’s any mystery that we need more funding for public education,” Beiser said. But he added that the tax wouldn’t solve all the district’s problems: “We still need to roll up our sleeves and go line-by-line through the budget.”
  • Stephen Rosen, running against Beiser, is the only candidate who flatly opposes the parcel tax. “I don’t support this property tax,” Rosen wrote in an e-mail. “Balancing the budget on the backs of property owners isn’t going to fix what is wrong with the school district budget. Taxing property owners during a time when property values have rapidly declined is foolish and will most likely not garner the 66% of the votes needed.”
  • John de Beck, who is running for reelection in the coastal areas, said he backs the tax, but worries about whether charging different fees for apartments, single family homes and commercial properties is legal. He is also dubious that it will pass. “We’ve done a lot of things that have angered constituents,” de Beck said.
  • Scott Barnett, who is running against de Beck, said he would not have voted to put the parcel tax on the ballot because “given the state of the economy, and the pain many homeowners are feeling … this may be the wrong time to ask for a parcel tax increase.” But if the school board decides to go ahead with it, Barnett said he would support the tax because the district needs it.

— EMILY ALPERT

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