With the holidays over, the campaign for Measure A, the Piedmont Unified School District parcel tax, is likely to swing into high gear.
The measure would replace the current school parcel tax structure with a flat tax of $2,406 per parcel starting July 1, 2013. It requires a two-thirds majority approval to pass.
The new tax levy is designed to bring in 5 percent more than the current year's school parcel tax, for a total of about $9.5 million. The school board would have the option of increasing that amount by up to 2 percent a year during the life of the measure, which would run until June 30, 2021.
The new measure would replace Measure B tax rates, which otherwise would continue for another year, through June 30, 2014.
Here are the official arguments for and against the measure as they will appear on the ballot. A more detailed look, including the wording of the measure, an impartial analysis and rebuttal arguments, is available on the Alameda County Registrar of Voters website here.
OFFICIAL ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE A
Piedmont schools are among the best in California. Exceptional teachers, challenging programs and support from parents and the community all contribute to high student achievement.
Since 1985, Piedmont schools have benefited from stable local funding provided by our school parcel tax. The parcel tax automatically expires periodically. Piedmont voters reauthorized it in 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2009. Now the parcel tax is again set to expire.
Measure A provides nearly $9.5 million in annual funding for Piedmont schools – 30% of the school’s budget. This is equivalent to 100 teachers or 60 instructional days. If Measure A fails, every classroom in Piedmont will be impacted. Teachers will be laid off, class sizes will increase, and many instructional programs will be eliminated.
As required by court decision Measure A sets a flat tax amount per parcel. In the past voters approved a yearly increase up to 5%. This measure caps the potential yearly increase to no more than 2%.
Every penny from Measure A will stay in Piedmont to benefit our schools and cannot be taken away by the State.
Measure A does not expand the educational program, but continues stable local funding for comprehensive programs in language arts, math, science and the arts.
Measure A is essential to continue to attract, train and retain the best teachers.
Measure A will keep class sizes smaller, preserve AP courses that help students qualify for excellent colleges, protect counseling services and maintain outstanding academic programs.
Good schools help protect Piedmont property values. Whether you have children in the schools or not, Measure A is a sound investment in our community and its children.
Please help us preserve quality schools in Piedmont. Please vote YES.
Richard Raushenbush, President of Piedmont Board of Education
Nancy McHugh, President, Piedmont Educational Foundation
Dane Copeland, President, Associated Parent Clubs of Piedmont (APCP)
Jon Elliott, First Chair of School Parcel Tax Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)
Sue Kawaichi, Former Member and President of Piedmont Board of Education
ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE A
We Piedmonters are happy to pay more for schools, and our excellent schools are the proud result. However, no other community's school tax approaches Measure A’s $2406 per parcel cost. Given the high cost, an equitable and progressive tax is needed. This can be done and provide the $9,500,000 asked for.
With 2% escalators, homeowners are being asked for $20,651 over 8 years. This financial burden falls heavily on the smaller property owners. At the extreme, a small lot owner will pay 80 times more per square foot than what the largest lot owner pays. Small lots include many fixed income seniors who most need relief from this highest in the state school tax. The fixed parcel tax is regressive, a progressive tax is needed.
Since good schools enhance property values, the most equitable solution is a tax according to dwelling area which is currently allowed for Community Colleges underGovernment Code 50079.1. Piedmont Unified School District should work with ot
Since good schools enhance property values, the most equitable solution is a tax according to dwelling area which is currently allowed for Community Colleges underGovernment Code 50079.1. Piedmont Unified School District should work with other districts affected by the Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District Appeals Court decision to make the minor legislative changes needed for a per square foot dwelling tax.
A senior exemption is included in all other top-ranked California school districts with a school support tax. In our region, most school districts include a senior exemption. Piedmont does not have a senior exemption and this must be included. The proposed SSI exemption for low-income seniors is meaningless in Piedmont.
A truly independent citizen oversight committee must be included in the proposed tax; currently, there is none. Piedmont schools are an integral part of our fine community; let's keep it that way, but fairly.
VOTE NO on MEASURE A. Instead, let us vote on a tax in November that is equitable, has genuine citizen oversight and a meaningful senior exemption.
James P. McCrea, Piedmont Homeowner
Gregory Jurin, Piedmont Resident
George D. Childs, Jr., Concerned Citizen
Aaron Salloway, Piedmont Homeowner
Bruce Joffe, Concerned Citizen