History of Community Support for Berkeley Schools

1986 – Eight year measure approved by 77.9% of Berkeley Voters

When the devastating effects of Prop.13 had become all too evident in our schools, a group of Berkeley citizens created, and the voters of Berkeley approved the “Berkeley Public Schools Educational Enrichment Act of 1986

This 8-year special tax funded:

  • lower class sizes,
  • supplementary educational materials,
  • facilities and grounds improvements, and
  • enrichment funding given to each school on a per pupil basis, to be spent as determined by a committee of parents and staff at the school.
  • Reducing Class Size and Maintaining Program Diversity (50%)
  • School Enrichment Programs, including Before-and-After School Programs (20%)
  • Books, Instructional Supplies, and Educational Equipment (15%)
  • Building and Grounds Improvements (15%)

1994 – Twelve-year measure approved by 85.5% of Berkeley voters

Eight years later, the Measure was renewed by an over 83% vote, as the Berkeley Schools Excellence Project of 1994. The Elementary Instrumental Music Program, a victim of budget cuts, was added. Also added was a small amount for public information (1%). To make the addition of music possible, the percentage dedicated to facilities was reduced and its focus changed to maintenance and security. Additional support for the school buildings was later provided by another special tax, Measure BB of 2000, and later Measure H of 2010 for maintenance of school district buildings, as well as landscaping and grounds work.

  • Smaller Class Sizes and Program Diversity (60%)
  • School Enrichment Programs (20%)
  • Books and Educational Materials (12%)
  • School Maintenance and Security (8%)

2004 – Two-year “bridge” measure approved by 72.9% of Berkeley voters

As the Dot-Com boom went bust in the early part of the 21st century, funding for all California school districts suffered. Berkeley Unified was forced to use the “fiscal crisis” clause of BSEP, which allowed higher levels of class sizes. Berkeley parents and community members responded to the crisis by working with the district to put Measure B of 2004 on the ballot. This two-year “bridge” measure was designed to expire in 2006, when BSEP also expired. Measure B added funds for Class Size Reduction, augmented the 4-8 music program, and added funding for libraries and for program evaluation. Measure B increased support for the schools by about $8 million.

  • Smaller Class Sizes, Expanded Course Offerings (68%)
  • School Libraries (16%)
  • Music Programs (7%)
  • Program Evaluation and Professional Development (7%)
  • Family Outreach and Translation Services (2%)

2006 – Ten year measure approved by 79.7% of Berkeley voters

By 2006, the total of BSEP and Measure B support for the schools had reached $19 million, and in November 2006, Berkeley Public Schools Educational Excellence Act of 2006 (Measure A) renewed Berkeley’s commitment to its schools with no increase in tax rates. There was some slight rearranging of the priorities, though class size reduction was still two-thirds of the measure. With Cost of Living Adjustments, increased square footage in residential and commercial properties, and other factors, BSEP generated a total of $23.9 million in 2011-12.

  • Smaller Class Sizes, Expanded Courses, Counseling (66%)
  • School Discretionary Funds (10.25%)
  • School Libraries (7.25%)
  • Music, Visual and Performing Arts (6.25%)
  • Family Outreach Programs (1.25%)
  • Professional Development, Tech, Evaluation & Assessment (9%)
  • BSEP Links

  • BSEP Measure Planning 2015-16

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  • BSEP Office

    2020 Bonar Street, Room 325
    Berkeley, CA 94702
    Tel: 510.644.8717 | Fax: 510.540.5358
    Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Email: bsep@berkeley.net

    Natasha Beery
    Director of BSEP and Community Relations

    Danielle Perez
    Program Specialist

    Elizabeth Karam
    Senior Budget Analyst