Ellenberg, Zarghami: San Jose Unified’s Measure Y levels the playing field

San Jose Unified School District students are the future leaders and workforce of the Silicon Valley. They require skills in core academic programs like math, science, reading and writing, as well as excellent classroom instruction from highly qualified teachers to ensure they are prepared.

On Nov. 8, local voters have the opportunity to invest in student futures by voting Yes on Measure Y to strengthen our local elementary, middle and high schools here in San Jose.

Measure Y will provide locally controlled funding for our neighborhood schools that cannot be taken away by the state. It must be used to fund priority academic programs and to attract and retain teachers and educational staff. Citizen oversight and annual audits will ensure funds are used only for these specific purposes. No funding can be used for district office administrators’ salaries or benefits.

One of the most urgent issues facing the public education system is the need to recruit and retain outstanding teachers and educational staff. More than any other factor, the quality of the teacher in front of the classroom influences student success. The high cost of living and the national teacher shortage are putting our neighborhood schools at risk of losing some of our best teachers.

We believe we need to do better for the valuable individuals who are educating and supporting our students every day.

Measure Y will apply a $72 annual education parcel tax which would generate $5 million annually for the specific purpose of recruiting and high quality educators and supporting vital educational programs in core academic subjects, as well as vocational education and college preparatory programs.

Measure Y includes an exemption for senior citizen homeowners and would sunset in eight years if not renewed by voters.

San Jose Unified is surrounded by school districts that receive supplemental revenue from local funding measures like the one proposed by Measure Y. In fact, 71 percent of the school districts in Santa Clara County have voter-approved parcel taxes.

Our students deserve an equally well-resourced public school district. Our ability to better support educators and critical academic programs directly benefit the 32,000 students who come to our schools every day, trusting that they will receive an
excellent education that will prepare them for college and careers.

Public education is a sacred obligation. As trustees, we are committed to supporting policies and decisions that meet the expectations, needs and dreams of our students and their families. However, we need strong buy in from our community to fully achieve those goals.

Please join our broad list of supporters—Democrats, Republicans, chambers of commerce, local business leaders, labor unions, elected officials, neighborhood leaders and, most importantly, 32,000 students and nearly 3,000 educators—in voting Yes On Y on Nov. 8. For more information visit www.YesonY4StudentSuccess.org.

Susan Ellenberg and Paymon Zarghami are first-term members of the San Jose Unified School Board. They wrote this for The Mercury News.


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