The ballot measure on the special election ballot that would alleviate the budgets of the Eugene 4J and Bethel school districts did not pass in Tuesday night’s election, but the ballot measure allowing for a bond for general funding for the 4J district did. @@http://www.4j.lane.edu/@@ @@http://www.bethel.k12.or.us/@@
“In theory, it’s a good idea,” College Republicans Chairman Zach Webb said of Measure 20-182, which asked for Eugene residents with an income of more than $11,000 to pay taxes to help the schools in need. @@http://www.facebook.com/ZacharyRWebb@@ @@http://www.strongschoolseugene.org/wp/faqs/measure/@@
The bond measure, Measure 20-183, which would allow the Eugene 4J School District to continue paying for repairs and improvements to the Eugene 4J School District’s building by renewing an existing property tax passed with a significant margin.
Roxie Cuellar, campaign manager for Citizens for Schools and Jobs, said money was likely the reason one ballot measure passed and the other one didn’t.
“It’s a tough economic time, and it’s hard to ask people to come up with more money out of their paychecks,” she said. @@http://citizensforjobsandschools.com/contact-us/@@
Webb said school districts need to make internal reforms rather than asking taxpayers to help them out every time they face budget issues. His concern was echoed by many other organizations, including Citizens for Schools and Jobs.
“It’s a message that the city council should not be involved in setting up an income tax for schools,” said Jennifer Solomon, a spokesperson for the group. “It’s also a message to the school board that they need to budget more wisely.” @@http://citizensforjobsandschools.com/page/2/@@
The Young Democrats of Lane County were actively urging people to vote until 8 p.m. election night to make sure students participated in the vote. They even persuaded newly appointed UO College Democrats Secretary Jake Foster to dress up as VoteBot — a robot encouraging students to vote. @@http://pages.uoregon.edu/colleged/@@
Although they were urging people to vote yes on the measure, they were hoping that students would come out and vote regardless of their political beliefs.
“My parents are teachers, so they’d probably disown me if I didn’t vote for this,” University junior Alexa Engelmann said as she turned in her ballot Tuesday night with no more than 15 minutes to spare. “It would affect my paycheck, but I voted yes on the measure.” @@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&s=Alexa+Engelmann@@
From the moment the bond measure was introduced by the school boards to the city council, it faced significant opposition, especially in the measure’s wording.
“The biggest concern is, there is nothing set in stone that the tax can’t be raised,” Webb said before the results of the vote were made public.
Webb was concerned the tax would rise and stay, rather than sunset after four years as was discussed in city council meetings but never written into the measure.
Because the measure failed to be approved by Eugene voters, the school districts will have to think of new ways to alleviate the $16.8 million budget gap the tax was supposed to fill. Increasing class sizes, creating more furlough days and laying off staff members from the school districts are among solutions that have come up during previous school board meetings.
Ballot Measure 20-182: Income tax for schools
Yes 14,192 36.26 percent
No 24,945 63.74 percent
Ballot Measure 20-183: General obligation bonds for schools
Yes 23,559 62.20 percent
No 14,318 37.80 percent