News

Measure A school parcel tax ballots sent to voters

Mail-in election to decide renewing $144 annual tax for nine more years

Contra Costa County election officials mailed ballots this week to the 83,000 registered San Ramon Valley voters asked to decide whether to extend the annual $144 local education parcel tax for nine more years.

Votes in the mail-only special election for Measure A must be submitted to election officials by May 5.

The existing $144-per-parcel tax was approved by voters within the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) boundaries as a seven-year tax in May 2009. Set to expire in June 2016 if not renewed, the annual tax generates roughly $6.8 million per year, according to district officials.

The SRVUSD Board of Education ordered the tax-extension question to be taken to the voters in a unanimous decision in late January. The special education tax would need approval from more than two-thirds of the ballots cast.

Funds generated by the tax would support "core academic programs in reading, writing, math and science; Advanced Placement (AP) courses and other programs to prepare all students for success in college and careers; ongoing training and development to attract and retain teachers; and career and technical training courses," according to the resolution approved by the school board.

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Like the current tax, the money could not be used for administrators' salaries and parcel tax spending would be subject to oversight by an independent citizens' committee and annual external audits.

Exemptions would be available for parcel owner-occupants who are at least 65 years old as well as for those who receive Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age.

A catalog of local elected officials have endorsed "Yes on Measure A," including all members of the San Ramon Valley school board, Danville Town Council and San Ramon City Council as well as county supervisor Candace Andersen, State Senate candidate Susan Bonilla and Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier and Eric Swalwell.

Unions representing the school district's teachers, classified employees and service workers have also publicly supported the parcel tax renewal.

Local parcels have been subject to a special education tax for the SRVUSD since 2004. In April of that year, voters approved a $90-per-parcel tax continuing through June 2009.

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After an attempt to renew the tax at $166 failed at the polls in June 2008, the parcel tax was increased to the current $144 level through June 2016 when more than 72% of voters approved of that extension in May 2009.

Voter turnout in the May 2009 special election was 52.29%, according to the Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters' Office.

Ballots for the May 5 mail-in election can be returned via mail, dropped off at the Registrar of Voters' Office in Martinez, or delivered to ballot drop-off locations at San Ramon City Hall, the Danville town offices or 10 other city halls in the county.

Jeremy Walsh
 
Jeremy Walsh, a Benicia native and American University alum, joined Embarcadero Media in November 2013. After serving as associate editor for the Pleasanton Weekly and DanvilleSanRamon.com, he was promoted to editor of the East Bay Division in February 2017. Read more >>

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Measure A school parcel tax ballots sent to voters

Mail-in election to decide renewing $144 annual tax for nine more years

by /

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 8, 2015, 12:37 pm
Updated: Thu, Apr 9, 2015, 10:33 pm

Contra Costa County election officials mailed ballots this week to the 83,000 registered San Ramon Valley voters asked to decide whether to extend the annual $144 local education parcel tax for nine more years.

Votes in the mail-only special election for Measure A must be submitted to election officials by May 5.

The existing $144-per-parcel tax was approved by voters within the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) boundaries as a seven-year tax in May 2009. Set to expire in June 2016 if not renewed, the annual tax generates roughly $6.8 million per year, according to district officials.

The SRVUSD Board of Education ordered the tax-extension question to be taken to the voters in a unanimous decision in late January. The special education tax would need approval from more than two-thirds of the ballots cast.

Funds generated by the tax would support "core academic programs in reading, writing, math and science; Advanced Placement (AP) courses and other programs to prepare all students for success in college and careers; ongoing training and development to attract and retain teachers; and career and technical training courses," according to the resolution approved by the school board.

Like the current tax, the money could not be used for administrators' salaries and parcel tax spending would be subject to oversight by an independent citizens' committee and annual external audits.

Exemptions would be available for parcel owner-occupants who are at least 65 years old as well as for those who receive Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age.

A catalog of local elected officials have endorsed "Yes on Measure A," including all members of the San Ramon Valley school board, Danville Town Council and San Ramon City Council as well as county supervisor Candace Andersen, State Senate candidate Susan Bonilla and Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier and Eric Swalwell.

Unions representing the school district's teachers, classified employees and service workers have also publicly supported the parcel tax renewal.

Local parcels have been subject to a special education tax for the SRVUSD since 2004. In April of that year, voters approved a $90-per-parcel tax continuing through June 2009.

After an attempt to renew the tax at $166 failed at the polls in June 2008, the parcel tax was increased to the current $144 level through June 2016 when more than 72% of voters approved of that extension in May 2009.

Voter turnout in the May 2009 special election was 52.29%, according to the Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters' Office.

Ballots for the May 5 mail-in election can be returned via mail, dropped off at the Registrar of Voters' Office in Martinez, or delivered to ballot drop-off locations at San Ramon City Hall, the Danville town offices or 10 other city halls in the county.

Comments

JJ
Danville
on Apr 9, 2015 at 7:55 am
JJ, Danville
on Apr 9, 2015 at 7:55 am

Never ending. Please vote NO.


Stella
Danville
on Apr 9, 2015 at 8:45 am
Stella , Danville
on Apr 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

Ridiculous. Please vote NO.


Alamo Ron
Alamo
on Apr 9, 2015 at 9:49 am
Alamo Ron, Alamo
on Apr 9, 2015 at 9:49 am

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.


Julia
Alamo
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:36 am
Julia, Alamo
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:36 am

Alamo Ron you have been horribly brain-washed. By the way Alamo Ron we are dealing and have been dealing with ignorance for many years.

VOTE NO..They love to suck every dime out you us...

VOTE NO...


C. R. Mudgeon
Danville
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:38 am
C. R. Mudgeon, Danville
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:38 am

I am undecided (at this instant) on this issue. I DO place a high value on having quality schools in our district. My children received good educations in the district, including graduation from Monte Vista, which enabled them to get into very good universities, and go on to good jobs, etc.

At the same time, I don't particularly rely on the school board to be good stewards of taxpayer money. They (the school board) wants to raise taxes as high as they can get away with, since it makes their job easier. In particular, it makes it easier to negotiate with the teachers' union.

Obviously the board and the unions are in favor, as well as the union-backed politicians. PTAs are of course in favor. No one represents the taxpayer in this issue.

I thought it was interesting, and surprising, that there was no opposing view provided in the voter guide, and am curious as to why not. Perhaps it is just that the "opposition" would be less organized. Or was some deadline missed? (If anyone knows of the back-story on the lack of an opposing view being presented, it would be good to know.)

I also thought it was a tad disingenuous for the actual proposition to be worded to the effect that it wouldn't "raise current taxes". Technically true, since this is to extend an existing tax that is due to expire in 2016. But, a YES vote DOES mean higher taxes than a NO vote....

Like I said, I am in favor of the high-level goal/objective, but not necessarily in favor of the tax "extension", due to questions on the true level of need, and how the money ends up being used.


Xin Han
Blackhawk
on Apr 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm
Xin Han, Blackhawk
on Apr 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

I am voting YES, quality education in these competetive times if very important.


James von Halle
San Ramon
on Apr 10, 2015 at 6:46 am
James von Halle, San Ramon
on Apr 10, 2015 at 6:46 am

If the schools had every dollar printed and every coin minted they would want more.
VOTE NO!


frankly
San Ramon
on Apr 10, 2015 at 6:56 am
frankly, San Ramon
on Apr 10, 2015 at 6:56 am

At this time, high quality schools are principally found in this school district BY ALL TESTS AND MEASURES.

Our schools are very high in state tests. Graduates attend quality universities if sought.

Penny-pinching will not produce all this quality!!!

Just look at the Orinda and Lafayette schools were high marks are always found. Why? People gladly accept added school funding through bonds over and above!!!!!

What do those people know?

Their graduates test well in State tests and in university acceptance standards.

Money works well for schools, students, and ultimately for graduates as they qualify through admittance testing for university placement.

In the long run, Society benefits from the production of these better educated students who will eventually have the higher end jobs.

Ethical and moral values are outside the testing norms and that belongs to the family and or their religious backgrounds.



BB
San Ramon
on Apr 10, 2015 at 8:37 am
BB, San Ramon
on Apr 10, 2015 at 8:37 am

I'm voting NO!
When this tax expires, there will still be 3 or more other SRVUSD taxes fees or whatever on my property tax bill.On top of those fees I can recall being pressured into writing a check for each school our children enrolled in every year for "school materials". I think they can manage with one less income stream. VOTE NO!


Ex-spouse of School Board Member
San Ramon
on Apr 10, 2015 at 9:13 am
Ex-spouse of School Board Member, San Ramon
on Apr 10, 2015 at 9:13 am

This measure is to support teacher's salaries/benefits which basically means it will go on indefinitely. I thought our regular tax dollars were supposed to support our public school system including teacher/administrator salaries. So, this will never end.

If Measure A passes, it means when this parcel tax term ends, the SRVUSD will ask to renew it again - and again, and again. I have not seen any School Board member address the salary and benefit costs of the teachers. The whining of some teachers indicating that even though they are paying $0 for medical coverage, their co-pay has been increased - to, oh my, $30. Welcome to the real world! As a single person, my medical coverage was $850/month and my portion was $450 PLUS a $30 co-pay (Kaiser coverage). The salaries of SRVUSD employees are public knowledge and can be found at transparentcalifornia.com.

For example, an elementary teacher in San Ramon has a salary of $83K, 'other pay' of $3k and benefit costs of $22.8k in addition - remember this is for 9 months of work - for a total cost of over $108k. Yes, this teacher may have been in the district for a long time, but would the private sector have the same salary scale if the employee kept the same job? It would not make economic sense for the company.

What is the district's plan to move out of increasing our property taxes through parcel measures to pay teachers' salaries and benefits? Will medical coverage of the district employees ever come in line with that of the corporate/real world or is the union too strong of a force to contend with?

Vote no on Measure A!


Peter Kluget
Danville
on Apr 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm
Peter Kluget, Danville
on Apr 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Well, the "I've got mine, Jack, so screw you" contingent is predictably out in force.

High quality schools are the primary driver of local property values. You can't solve problems by just "throwing money at them" but you sure as heck can create problems by being cheap. Schools in this state are chronically underfunded - lower than the national average. We're lucky we live in an area where $144 a year to improve our local schools is a drop in the bucket for most folks' budget.

And yeah, those teachers. Who do they think they are, refusing to teach creationism and voodoo economics and the rest of the Fox orthodoxy? And unions? Really - negotiating over pay and benefits instead of humbly and gratefully thanking their betters (like Julia) for whatever they deem fit to throw their way? The nerve!


Jake
Alamo
on Apr 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm
Jake, Alamo
on Apr 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm

The wording tells the whole story!it is like "we will increase your debt but you payments will not change". Not the strongest argument! It is irrelevant to say 144 is chump change and also a weak argument. Show me a true need and effective use of resources and I am in. Please don't use mom and apple pie cliche "quality education" as if any body argued against it.


Michael
Danville
on Apr 10, 2015 at 5:46 pm
Michael, Danville
on Apr 10, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Doesn't it bother anyone else to have to put your signature next to your name on the OUTSIDE of the envelope? This concept really bothers me. Who's checking? Besides those possibly interested in identity misdeeds.

Voters should have to present identification in order to vote in every election. There are so many circumstances in modern life where identification is required- for far less important actions.


Peter Kluget
Danville
on Apr 10, 2015 at 5:57 pm
Peter Kluget, Danville
on Apr 10, 2015 at 5:57 pm

"Show me a true need and effective use of resources and I am in."

No you're not. You want to see the need? Visit a school. Any school. Oh, but that's not "true need" you'll say.

"Effective use of resources?" You've never reviewed a school budget, let alone the entire district's budget. You'll complain about wasted paperclips somewhere or a janitor who's work isn't to your standard, and sniff "They're waaaasting MY money!"

All you're expressing is an excuse for what you want to do anyway.

California ranks in the bottom third of states in per-pupil funding of K-12 schools. Actual funding varies by district, but the bottom line is we're cheap when it comes to funding public education. Cheap at K-12, cheap at college, cheap at post-grad. And it's because a raft of boomers who got their's when earlier generations were willing to pay it forward are pulling the ladder up behind themselves, sticking out their tongues at future generations, and taunting "I've got mine, Jack. Screw you!.


SRV Dad
San Ramon
on Apr 11, 2015 at 5:24 pm
SRV Dad, San Ramon
on Apr 11, 2015 at 5:24 pm

The strategy for SRVUSD is to have ballot measures in election cycles where they expect low voter turnout. Using a mail in ballot this year is a new low for the district. Show me cost cutting and a reduced budget and I'll think about "need" for additional funds.

By the way, how was the Principal's trip to China funded? How does this increase my child's quality of education?

Nope.


Howard
San Ramon
on Apr 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm
Howard, San Ramon
on Apr 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm

I'm not sure why the board tries to make such a big deal of the "fact" that the money can't be used for administrative salaries? In reality, all the parcel tax does is frees up other funds which can be used for administrative salaries! This is clearly an attempt to misled the public in order to win the election. In fact, I believe that every salary increase the teachers get the administrators receive also. So here is how it seems to work; the board and administrators bargain against the teachers' union, while the board counts on the unions to fund their board campaigns, and the administrators get the same raise as those across the table. Can you say "conflict of interest"?


IMCurious
Danville
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:17 am
IMCurious, Danville
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:17 am

You can count me as a NO! By the way, "Michael..."

"...Voters should have to present identification in order to vote in every election. There are so many circumstances in modern life where identification is required- for far less important actions."

All I can say is AMEN, BROTHER!


Douglas
Blackhawk
on Apr 13, 2015 at 8:52 am
Douglas, Blackhawk
on Apr 13, 2015 at 8:52 am

AN UNEQUIVOCAL NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Catherine
Blackhawk
on Apr 13, 2015 at 8:55 am
Catherine, Blackhawk
on Apr 13, 2015 at 8:55 am

Cue the sheep(Xin Han)! And a definite NO from me....


Sean
Alamo
on Apr 13, 2015 at 9:04 am
Sean, Alamo
on Apr 13, 2015 at 9:04 am

Peter, Boomers arrived at maturity with a sense of hope and charity. Many died in an unpopular "conflict." Others spent countless hours volunteering in the US and abroad. Many STILL volunteer. Many, with smaller fortunes, donate larger sums to charity than our elected officials who are lining their pockets with our money.

California schools are a jumble with conflicting goals. SRVUSD goals are not the same as those in lower performing communities in our county. Until real needs and acknowledged, the State will continue to squander money for generic solutions that do not work. That means less money for all. Then, those communities that are already paying higher property taxes are asked to fork over more to compensate at a local level.


Herman Glates
Registered user
Danville
on Apr 13, 2015 at 9:36 am
Herman Glates, Danville
Registered user
on Apr 13, 2015 at 9:36 am

Why are we having TWO special elections within 2 weeks of each other?

We’re having a special election for the school tax on May 5, and ANOTHER special election for the state senate run-off between Glazer and Bonilla on May 19.

Why didn’t they combine the two into a single ballot?

Elections cost money. Taxpayers must pay to print & mail out ballots, count them, etc.

Government needs to spend taxpayer money more wisely.


Conservator
Danville
on Apr 13, 2015 at 10:39 am
Conservator, Danville
on Apr 13, 2015 at 10:39 am

Can you name the generation that sadly did not loose some portion of their peers to an "unpopular conflict"? What is even sadder is how those on the younger side of the noted boomer generation so poorly neglected their conscripted older brothers upon return from an all expense paid trip to Southeast Asia. You talk about them reaching maturity with a sense of "hope and charity". Funny, I recall most of the more prodigious ones reaching maturity by transforming from a naive Opie in the 60s, to an impatient Meathead in the 70s and then finally into a self-style Gordon Gecko character once real paychecks started to roll-in during the 80s.

It's one of the few generations that took the blood, sweat and tears laid down by their fathers and mothers, who crawled out of the Depression only to give what was left of their soul to WWII, and just ran with those sacrifices without real concern to the society that would surely follow them. Go ahead and critique my generalizations. That's fair. However, if one has lived a reasonably long life in this country, it's hard to not see the underlying truths in my statement.

H.G. - As much as it pains me, you are so very right on the silliness and wastefulness of these repetitive election dates. It's incompetence and shameful that they could not combine them.


Aubrey
Alamo
on Apr 14, 2015 at 8:59 am
Aubrey, Alamo
on Apr 14, 2015 at 8:59 am

It's clear that the experiment known as "public education" is a complete and abject failure, continuing to decline in value as it lays claim to more and more funding.

It's time to move on and try something completely different, maybe a private system that puts responsibility on the parents, not their neighbors...


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