MARTINEZ -- Voters appear to have approved a five-year extension of a $50 parcel tax for the Martinez schools.

Measure C gained the support of about 67.7 percent of voters, taking it just past the two-thirds voter approval it needed to pass.

The current parcel tax, which expires in June 2014, generates about $525,000 per year. The school district has used the funds to keep music instruction and physical education specialists in the elementary schools, counselors at the two secondary schools, library services and other programs.

The district will use the tax revenue for programs to help students prepare for college and careers, to buy textbooks and instructional materials, to maintain teacher-student ratios and to retain staff.

District leaders say the parcel tax revenue has helped the district weather years of state budget cuts. Even if voters approve the governor's tax hike, the district is projecting three years of deficit spending that will chip away at its $8 million reserve fund.

Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.



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