Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
Oakland Children’s Initiative Dedicated Funding Streams Property Tax

Parcel tax contributes over $30 million annually toward Oakland early care and education and college preparedness programs

 

The Oakland Children’s Initiative (Measure AA) was approved by voters in November 2018 and was upheld by the courts in 2021. This charter amendment authorizes the City of Oakland to collect $198 per year in parcel tax on single-family homes, and $135.25 per year per unit of multi-unit residences, from FY 2019-20 to FY 2048-49. This will produce around $35 million annually in funding for early care and education and college preparedness programs for Oakland residents for the next 30 years. Qualifying low-income households can be exempted from the parcel tax.

Sixty-two percent of the tax revenue is used to expand access to and quality of early education and child care. Another seven percent is used for oversight and accountability, including the cost of operating the mayor-appointed Citizens’ Oversight Commission, which administers audits, implementation planning, and outreach. 

Oakland leaders aim to use this revenue to deliver preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds in the city within a decade. For now, initial investments will improve facilities serving 3- and 4-year-olds and provide staffing support. The funds will also provide professional development, training, and coaching for early educators, as well as increase access to classroom materials and technology.

Measure AA was entangled in legal battles following its initial approval by 62% of voters. Although the measure specified that it needed two-thirds approval to pass, the City Council later determined that only a simple majority, or 50%, was needed. In January 2019, the Oakland Jobs and Housing Coalition, along with a group of property owners, sued the City of Oakland, arguing that the City Council certified Measure AA unlawfully, given that it failed to earn support from two-thirds of the voters. But in December 2021, a California appeals court upheld the measure’s passage on the legal grounds that citizen-led ballot initiatives need only a simple majority, regardless of the language on the ballot.

LEARN MORE: OAKLAND CHILDREN'S INITIATIVE

Sources:

City of Oakland. (2018). Measure AA.

Ballotpedia. (2018). Oakland, California, Measure AA, Education Parcel Tax Charter Amendment.

New America. (2023). In the San Francisco Bay Area, Two New Funds Support Early Care and Education.

First 5 Alameda County. (n.d.). Ballot Measures.

Oakland North. (2019). Lawsuit challenges Oakland’s certification of education funding tax Measure AA.

Download This Table

Demographics Link copied!

City population

430,553 Source U.S. Census Bureau, 2022

Persons under 5 years old

5.70% Source U.S. Census Bureau, 2022

Poverty levels: Children 0-8 below 200% poverty

40% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$106,700 Source KIDS COUNT, 2022

Unemployment rate

3.50% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Unemployment rate of parents

N/A Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

N/A Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

38% Source KIDS COUNT, 2019