While their parents have been watching political ads on television, dozens of San Leandro High School students have been working on a campaign of great personal interest -- passage of the Measure L parcel tax that would raise $2.4 million for local education.
Over the last six weeks upwards of 400 volunteers have staffed a telephone bank that has dialed an estimated 24,000 likely voters.
About 60 percent of those volunteers have been students, say organizers on the Yes on Measure L campaign.
If Measure L passes it would cost each single family homeowner $39 per year. (Read more about the proposed tax, its unanimous support from the school board, and its endorsement by the Chamber of Commerce and city leaders.)
But Measure L faces a hurdle that offers today's high schoolers a lesson in election history. Ever since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, local tax initiatives have required a two-thirds vote to pass.
"I'm a believer but that's such a huge number," said Deborah Cox, coordinator of the Yes on L campaign.
Enter the student volunteers to drum up support by phone.
Last Thursday night they included seniors Edwin Monterrosa and Eduardo Guerrero, who were making their second volunteer appearance.
"We do notice the budget cuts around the schools," Monterrosa said.
Juniors Caitlin Jung and Naomi Lindsey were getting their first taste of trying to reach people at home in the evenings.
"This is hard," Jung said. "Not everybody is nice."
Adults have made their contributions to the Yes on L effort.
Teachers have been especially supportive, donating the largest part of the more than $60,000 that the campaign has raised. They have also staffed the phones. Thursday night, for instance, the volunteer callers included Yvonne Islas, an English and Spanish teacher at John Muir Middle School.
Other volunteers on phone duty Thursday night included Chris Crow, a candidate for city council; Jason Toro, who will be joining the school board; and school superintendent Cindy Cathey, who knows it will be tough to run the district without funds from Measure L and from Governor Jerry Brown's proposed Prop 30 tax increases.
Soon it will be up to voters.
Cox noted that one additional hurdle faces Measure L -- it comes at the end of a long ballot, after the national, state and county races.
If she had her druthers voters would cast their ballots from back to front, before electoral fatigue sets in.