Yes - 60,629, 78.6 percent
No - 16,503, 21.4 percent
By Katy Murphy
A permanent parcel tax for Oakland's public schools passed by a large margin this week, with more than 78 percent approval for Measure G.
With all of the precincts reporting Wednesday, 60,629 voters said "yes'' to the $195-per-year property tax, which generates $20 million a year for the Oakland school district. Just 16,503 voted against the measure.
"Pretty impressive, huh?'' said Noel Gallo, a school board member and chairman of the Measure G campaign committee. "For me, as a parent and a citizen living in Oakland, it's really a continued sign that people believe in public education, and that they believe in our kids.''
Proceeds from the levy pay for smaller class sizes, after-school programs, school libraries, art and music and other programs. The money may not be spent on the salaries of central office administrators, and expenditures will be monitored by an independent oversight committee.
Gallo said he would make sure that the money is spent properly.
Measure G backers said they experienced little opposition during the campaign - possibly because it won't cause anyone's tax bills to rise, or because a failed measure would have meant millions of dollars in lost revenue each year for local schools.
If the state budget cuts proposed last month by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger come to fruition, the district would have to trim as much as $13 million from its 2008-09 budget, according to a report presented last week by Oakland Unified CFO Leon Glaster.