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San Francisco Proposition O: An Additional Parcel Tax to Support City College

We’re talking about San Francisco’s Proposition O, which would require property owners to pay a new parcel tax to support City College of San Francisco.

First, some background. Back in 2012, SF voters approved a 99-dollar parcel tax on all properties to help fund City College. That flat tax is set to expire in 2032. Prop O calls for an additional parcel tax, but this one would be based onsquare footage. It would start at 150 dollars per year for a single-family home and top out at four thousand dollars for a large commercial building. So it’s an additional, higher tax.

If approved by a simple majority, the new tax will generate around 37 million dollars annually for City College.

It’s been a tumultuous decade for the college. In 2012, it nearly lost its accreditation. Things were looking up by 2017 and the city passed a tax to enable free tuition for residents. But enrollment is down, and with it, state and federal funding. City College has laid off staff and cut courses to stay afloat.

Labor unions representing teachers, fire-fighters, and service workers support Prop O. They call it an investment in the city’s workforce that will help ensure all residents have equal access to education.

But the San Francisco Association of Realtors and the San Francisco Taxpayers Association oppose the measure. They say City College is mismanaged and needs reform, not more funding.

One more thing to note: Proposition O would require City College to create an oversight committee to ensure the money is used as prescribed.

So, if you think San Francisco property owners should pay this additional tax to support City College, then vote yes on Prop O.

If you do not think City College should receive more funding from an additional parcel tax, vote no.

That's a brief take on San Francisco’s Proposition O.

Originally from Chicago, I’ve lived in San Francisco for the past 20 years and am a veteran reporter and communicator. I was most recently editorial director for Activate, a nonprofit that empowers science entrepreneurs to bring their research to market. Prior to that I spent a dozen years as an independent reporter whose beats included climate, energy, microplastics, technology, and recreation. I’ve written for Outside, The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, and many other publications, and in 2014 co-founded a reader-supported experiment in journalism, called Climate Confidential. I had a brief stint in radio during college and can’t wait to learn the craft of audio storytelling.