Danville Express

Perspective - April 17, 2009

Guest opinion: Parcel tax needed to keep critical programs

by Cynthia Moe

We are facing the worst budget shortfall for education in California's history. The budget cuts will be devastating and will directly affect children. They will force even larger class sizes and the reduction and/or elimination of many critical education programs. While we would like to hope this is a short-term problem, the reality is that it is not. We've listened to the leaders in California at both local and state levels declare the money isn't there and they don't expect additional monies, maybe even less.

California, once the fifth largest economy in the world and now eighth, invests the smallest amount in education of any state in America. Also the amount of funding from the state varies for each school district. The number of funding streams has grown over many years and some are based on local circumstances or decisions made in the 1970s or 1980s that are no longer relevant for education funding. The system results in large disparities and leaves many schools with inadequate funding.

Piedmont Unified School District started the parcel tax campaigns in the 1970s to offset Proposition 13. Its current parcel tax averages $2,082 per parcel and was passed in 2006. The district has an additional parcel tax on the ballot of $249 for two years to offset the current shortfall, as well as a renewal of the $2,082 average per parcel for four years starting in the 2010-11 school year.


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