Berkeley’s local special tax in support of our public schools.
A community response to school funding shortages in the wake of Prop. 13, the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP), has made a huge difference in the quality of our children’s education since 1986. With a successful thirty-year history, this special local tax was on Berkeley’s November 2016 ballot as Measure E1, the Berkeley Public Schools Educational Excellence Act of 2016, where it won the approval of close to 89% of the voters, and was extended for 8 years.
Thoughtful oversight of BSEP funds
Among the cities that have created local tax initiatives to supplement their schools’ budgets, Berkeley’s BSEP Measure is unusual in that it specifies the purposes for which the funds may be used, and requires extensive community involvement in planning and overseeing the expenditures. The BSEP Planning and Oversight (P&O) Committee, comprised of parent representatives from each school, meets regularly to review the implementation of the Measure, and to ensure that BSEP funds are spent in compliance with the Measure. An outside audit is also mandated by the Measure, providing an additional layer of assurance that funds are being spent according to the voters’ wishes.