There are some Alamedans who are considering voting against Measure H — the June 3 school parcel tax measure — because they don't believe it would benefit them. Maybe they don't have children in the local schools like I do. Why would a measure to fund the local schools help them at all?
While passage of Measure H would help Alameda schools maintain their excellence, the benefits of passage go well beyond the education of the Island's kids. Regardless of your family status, if you own property or a business in Alameda, your personal wealth is on the line June 3.
Quality public schools can make a difference of 10 to 15 percent in the value of the homes in nearby neighborhoods. Ten to 15 percent is a lot of money for most Americans, and I suspect most readers of this paper. For many of us, our homes are our families' accumulated wealth, the source of our children's future inheritance, the equity needed to pay for college, the assurance that we can retire and have the money to enjoy it. For many homeowners, it takes decades to build up this family wealth.
This asset has to be tended as carefully as the lawns and gardens that adorn so many of the Island's neighborhoods. People work very hard to maintain the quality of their homes and neighborhoods because they understand the value of doing so. Excellent local public schools are a key part of such quality neighborhoods.
We all are acutely aware of the turmoil in the housing markets nationwide. Undoubtedly, many of us keep a watchful eye on the housing market, wondering what we can do to keep the market from turning south on our little piece of the rock.
Passing Measure H would send a message that Alamedans are willing to do what it takes to not only protect the education of our kids but, importantly, protect our wealth and the quality of life of Alameda.
That's the kind of message that markets understand.
Michael Schmitz is a member of the Alameda Economic Development Commission.