Leaders of the Morgan Hill Unified School District in San Jose voted unanimously September 5 to approved a $20,000 contract with a consulting firm that specializes in helping local governments draft tax measures and pitch them to the voters.
The contract with TBWB Strategies is “to support the district in the initial stages of the parcel tax planning process by building consensus with outreach and awareness-building strategies and constructing a strong ballot measure by aligning the parcel tax measure with the community’s priorities and tax sensitivities,” the school district staff told district leaders.
On TBWB’s website, the firm boasts: “In addition to our experience with bonds, the partners at TBWB have passed 71 parcel tax measures for school districts throughout California – far more than any other firm in our industry. We maintain a win rate of over 90 percent despite the tough 66.67 percent approval threshold and have helped many school districts develop strategies to pass both bond and parcel tax measures in sequential elections.”
The district is pushing for a parcel tax to be on the June ballot. The tax measure would need support from at least two-thirds of the voters to pass.
Two months ago, the district paid another consulting firm $24,000 to poll 400 potential voters on their likely support for a parcel tax. Those results “demonstrated that the community has a positive opinion” of the school district, and that more than two-thirds were willing to vote for a tax of $55 per parcel per year. The poll found that support fell as the proposed tax rate got higher.
The polling also studied whether the tax would fare differently in a June or November 2018 election, and the consulting firm reported that it had a better chance of passing if placed on the ballot in November, when turnout is expected to be higher. (Sources: The Morgan Hill Times, September 6; TBWB website, accessed September 7.)