Measure E1: Berkeley Public Schools Educational Excellence Act of 2016

2/3 supermajority required

The Question: To support high-quality public education and fund class-size reduction, school libraries, teacher training, student support, music programs, instructional technology, and other designated purposes, shall the Berkeley Unified School District replace its expiring special tax with an annual tax at 37¢ per square foot for taxable buildings, for eight years, with annual cost-of-living adjustments and a low-income senior exemption?

The Situation: The Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) is a special local parcel tax measure, first passed by Berkeley voters in 1986 as a response to school funding shortages in the wake of Proposition 13. The tax has been extended by voters at approximately 10-year intervals since 1986 and is up for renewal in 2016. The tax revenue currently provides 20% of the funding for the Berkeley Public Schools.

The Proposal: A parcel tax of 37¢ per square foot of developed space will be levied on commercial and residential properties for a period of 8 years to provide additional funding for Berkeley schools. An oversight committee and independent auditors will monitor this fund.

Fiscal Effect: This Special Tax is estimated to raise $28 million in annual local funding for District schools based on the amount of the tax for the 2017–18 tax year.

Supporters Say:

  • BSEP currently funds 20% of Berkeley school budgets, including one-third of teachers, 100% of libraries, music, and other programs.
  • State funding, even with Proposition 30 money, is not adequate; local funding from Measure E1 is needed to provide a high-quality education for all Berkeley children.
  • Measure E1 specifically defines the use and allocation of all funds, and has strict community oversight and annual independent audits.

Opponents Say:  No argument opposing Measure E1 was submitted.

Supporters:  YesE1 (

Opponents:  No opposing organizations have filed.

A “Yes” vote means: The Berkeley Unified School District will be authorized to levy the Special Tax.

A “No” vote means: The Berkeley Unified School District will not be authorized to levy the Special Tax and will lose 20% of the School District’s budget.

For the original text of the Berkeley Ballot Measures and the City Attorney’s impartial analysis, go to this link:

For the original text of Berkeley Ballot Measures as filed with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, go to this link and click on Measures:

© League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville 2016