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The campaign for a new parcel tax to raise money for San Diego Unified schools has raised roughly $243,000 this year — and spent even more.

What about the opponents of the parcel tax? Both Larry Remer, who has been consulting the parcel tax campaign, and Lani Lutar, the president of the local Taxpayers Association, which opposes it, say they know of no funded campaign against the tax. I haven’t been able to find filings for one, either.

The committee, called Save Our Schools — Yes on Prop J 2010, has gotten donations from philanthropist and Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs ($45,000), construction and carpentry unions (more than $100,000), the teachers union (nearly $27,000 including nonmonetary donations like phone banking) and an independent committee called Putting Students First that has charter school ties ($50,000).

It also got a smaller donation from a surprising source: Businessman Rod Dammeyer, who belongs to a new group, San Diegans 4 Great Schools, which argues the school district is failing and that the way its school board is chosen needs to be rethought. School board members had argued that Dammeyer and other backers of San Diegans 4 Great Schools should spend their money on the parcel tax, not trying to change the way the school board works. It looks like Dammeyer took them up on it.

Even without opponents who are willing to spend, the school tax faces a tough challenge: Two-thirds of voters must approve the tax, which would impose a $98 charge on single family households annually and generate $50 million annually for five years.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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