Proposition B: Raise and Extend Parcel Tax to Help City College

This measure would increase and extend a parcel tax for the City College of San Francisco that will otherwise expire in 2021.

The community college board voted 7-0 to place this initiative on the ballot.

Why is this on the ballot?

The measure’s proponents argue that City College of San Francisco, the largest community college on the West Coast, would be in danger of having to lay off staff if this tax was not approved.

Enrollment at City College of San Francisco has dropped in recent years, endangering the college’s future. Photo by Nadia Mishkin / San Francisco Public Press

The college has been in crisis for many years. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges moved to revoke the college’s academic accreditation in 2012, and though a judge reversed that decision — he ruled that the accrediting team had treated the college unfairly — enrollment has dropped by about one-third.

That decline has cut into City College’s revenues and forced it to lean heavily on other public funding sources. The state agreed to provide three years of “stability” funds, which will total approximately $119 million when they stop flowing by the end of the third year in 2017, said Jeff Hamilton, the college’s marketing director.

Another crucial revenue source is a $79 annual parcel tax (on properties), established in 2012, which nets City College about $15 million per year and is scheduled to expire in 2021.

As a result, the college faces an estimated budget shortfall of at least $25 million in fiscal year 2016-17, which began July 1.

What would it do and at what cost?

If passed, Proposition B would raise the City College parcel tax from $79 to $99 starting in 2017 and extend its duration from eight years to 19 years, ending in 2032.

The increase would boost the parcel tax revenue by $4 million a year, to approximately $19 million, according to the city controller’s office.

Parcel tax revenue may not be used to increase compensation for college administrators.

Properties exempt from property taxes would also be exempt from the parcel levy.

Who officially proposed it?

The Board of Trustees of San Francisco Community College District.

Who officially opposes it?

No oppositon argument was submitted to the Department of Elections.

Vote threshold to pass

Super majority — 66 ⅔ percent.

Effective date if passed

Fiscal year 2017-2018.

Follow the money

One committee has registered in support of Proposition B: “Save City College.”

Follow the money at the San Francisco Ethics Commission: all Proposition B filings.

Endorsements: our methodology

The Public Press chose to count endorsements from organizations that backed multiple candidates or ballot measures, and that made those endorsements available online. We did not count endorsements from individuals.

If you think we missed an important organization, please tell us. We’d love to hear from you.

Tracked endorsements by organization


Written by: Noah Arroyo and Nadia Mishkin

Published: Sept. 30, 2016