[Editor's Note, March 10, 3:56 p.m: The latest Alameda Patch report on the Measure A election results is . ]
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has tallied an additional batch of vote-by-mail ballots that were walked into the polls on Tuesday.
Counting those ballots, which numbered more than two thousand, caused the pass rate on the parcel tax to drop to 67.82 percent.
At the end of the night the pass rate for Measure A was at 68.43 percent. The tax requires a two-thirds of the vote (66.66 percent) to pass.
There are still, according to School Board Trustee Mike McMahon, some 500 to 600 provisional ballots still to be counted.
"Of the remaining votes all we need is 157 votes," said McMahon. "The question at this point is whether we're going to win by a point or a point and something."
McMahon did express suprise that was down rather than up for the "yes" side.
"Basically what it looks like is that the last minute tactics of the oppostion, literature drops, email and robocalls appear to have driven some no voters to the polls," said McMahon.
Guy Ashley of the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office said he expected the remaining votes to be posted at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
"We expect that will reflect all ballots," Ashley said.
The chart below reflects the cumulative total for votes at the most recent time noted.Time posted Yes % Yes No % No 3/8 8:00 p.m. 8,015 66.44 4,048 33.56 9:25 p.m. 8,773 66.76 4,369 33.24 9:45 p.m. 10,205 67.60 4,892 32.40 9:55 p.m. 11,047 67.84 5,237 32.16 10:20 p.m. 12,861 68.43 5,934 31.57 3/9 5 p.m. 14,342 67.82 6,806 32.18
Under Measure A, all property owners in Alameda would pay 32 cents per square foot for the schools parcel tax. That levy would be capped at $7,999 per parcel and seniors can apply for an exemption.
The measure allocates parcel tax funds to particular programs in specific proportions, such as maintaining class sizes of 25 children to one teacher in grades K-3 and “attracting and retaining excellent teachers.”
AUSD officials asked voters for the parcel tax because of a three-year budget gap of more than $19 million. The district said that shortfall came because of state budget cuts and the expiration of current parcel taxes in 2012.
Passage of Measure A, the district says, would avert some drastic changes to schools over the next two years, which include closing three elementary schools and a middle school, and cutting such basic elementary school programs as music, library and physical education. Those changes, known as Plan B, would also make cuts at the high school level, such as reducing AP classes and eliminating athletics altogether.
The AUSD board has already approved those changes pending the outcome of Measure A; opponents of the parcel tax have argued that the cuts wouldn’t really happen and were meant to frighten voters.
Even with Measure A, district officials say the financial picture for education in Alameda remains challenging. The $12 million per year from Measure A parcel tax does not cover the complete budget gap, so the district will continue to make reductions in the district office and schools. These may include eliminating an elective period from middle school, reducing high school graduation requirements and reducing special education paraprofessionals.
Robles-Wong noted that schools supporters' work is not done as long as education funding in California is not secure. "We'll go on from here," he said. "There's more to deal with."