A good education system is crucial to creating a well-functioning society. And yet, American public schools often don’t get the funding they need, and teachers are given inadequate salaries despite their hard work. In Berkeley, we are striving to change this. Tax measures E, G, and H have been proposed as ways to increase teachers’ salaries and increase the budget for various school programs and maintenance. These measures will be on the ballot on March 3. These taxes are essential in order to improve our schools.
Measures E, G, and H are the main three measures that Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) is pushing for. Measures E and H need at least 66 percent of the vote, and measure G needs 55 percent of the vote. Measures E and H are both parcel taxes, and E is a new tax while H is an increase in a pre-existing tax. Measure G is a bond that will tax homeowners based on the value of their property. Similar to Measure H, this proposition is only an increase in payment as opposed to a new tax. BUSD asserts that the revenue from these measures will allow for a variety of improvements including increased teacher salaries, construction and maintenance, better libraries, counseling, and better art and music programs.
Berkeley High School (BHS) junior Minh Khai Spencer has helped organize the campaign for these measures and feels that they are “very important, as Berkeley schools are only as good as our teachers and staff.” Better school funding leads to higher rates of graduation and overall success for students. At BHS we’re lucky to have access to so many resources, and we wouldn’t want to lose any opportunities due to lack of funding.
Some may argue that with housing already unaffordable, adding extra expenses isn’t right. However, the housing crisis is a reason why we should pass these measures. Already, teachers feel the strain of living in such an expensive area with salaries that are simply not enough. Spencer said, “If we are not able to … pay our educators enough to keep them in the area, our district won’t be as high quality as it… should be.” Teaching is one of the most vital professions, and our educators shouldn’t have to worry about affording homes.
With everything going on, school budgets may not seem like the most pressing issue. However, poor education leads to crime, corruption, and ignorance. Spencer said, “I know right now has not been an easy time at BHS and a lot of what we need requires funds. … Without these passing, the budget is going to be a whole lot tighter.” Now more than ever, we need better education. Make sure to vote yes on measures E, G, and H during the primary election on March 3.