Case Study

Northern California Community College Parcel Tax Measure

Peralta CCD

Background

The Peralta Community College District includes four campuses that serve northern Alameda County—Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland. With the cost of four-year universities rising and many families struggling to afford higher education, the Peralta Colleges provide an essential safety net for local students.

The Peralta Colleges had all been hit hard by State budget cuts. With cuts of nearly $30 million over only a three-year period, students were being turned away from classes, and core academic and vocational courses were becoming limited.

At this time, only one other California community college district had passed a parcel tax to bolster funding for courses, programs and services. Measure B, a $48 parcel tax, was crafted to provide local funding to help students get the classes they needed to prepare for college and future careers.

What We Did

Peralta CCDTBWB worked with the district to analyze the community’s support for a potential parcel tax measure that would require 66.7% of the vote for passage, and helped communicate the district’s needs to the community.

The diversity and size of the district meant that passage of Measure B would require a carefully planned and well-executed campaign strategy. TBWB designed a direct mail program that included both district-wide and locally targeted messages for each community within the region–Alameda, Albany, Berkley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont. A broad coalition of support, from elected officials, community leaders, educators, labor and business leaders, was important to building broad consensus for the approval of Measure B.

 As a result of a thorough campaign spent gathering key endorsements, fundraising, phone banking and delivering key messages to key voter targets, Measure B passed on June 5, 2012 with 72.86% of the vote. This success made Peralta Community College District just the second community college district, in the State, to pass a parcel tax measure.