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Dublin voters to decide renewal of school parcel tax

Board OKs mail-only May election on expiring $96 annual tax

Voters in the Dublin Unified School District will have a measure on the ballot for a mail-only special election May 7 -- deciding whether to renew the district's existing parcel tax measure for an additional nine years.

Set to expire in June, the $96-per-parcel annual tax raises approximately $1.7 million each year, according to district staff, who note that those dollars go toward general funding for Dublin's public schools and argue the funding is vital in maintaining the district's quality of education.

"The parcel tax helps Dublin maintain a high-level of academic excellence in its schools. If local parcel tax funding expires, our schools would lose at least $1.7 million in annual funding that is used for things like teachers, technology, maintaining classroom sizes and programs like the Gael Period at Dublin High," Superintendent Leslie Boozer told the Weekly.

"With California ranking near the bottom nationally in per-student funding, all California school districts are looking for various methods to support the funding of critical activities that benefit all children," Boozer added.

District staff stressed the point that the parcel tax would stay at $96, and approval of the measure would serve as a continuation of the tax, not an increase. To put those funds into perspective, the $1.7 million collected equates to the cost of about 20 or more teachers, according to the district's parcel tax FAQ webpage.

The parcel tax spending would be subject to oversight by a citizens' committee and funds could not go toward administrator salaries.

The Dublin school board voted unanimously Jan. 22 to place the measure on the ballot. The board also appointed Board President Amy Miller and Trustee Dan Cunningham to serve on a subcommittee to help draft the parcel tax resolution text.

The parcel tax renewal would need to be approved by two-third of voters in order to pass and extend the tax through June 2028.

Two-thirds may seem like a large number, but based off Dublin's previous voting history it is far from insurmountable. Originally approved by Dublin voters in 2008, the parcel tax was renewed in 2014 for an additional five years by a large margin -- 79.4% of voters approved the renewal measure in the mail-only special election in 2014.

For the 2019 renewal, the proposed ballot question included in the school board's resolution reads as follows:

"Without increasing the existing tax rate and to maintain high quality education for Dublin students by attracting/retaining qualified teachers; sustaining academic achievement in math, science, reading, writing, engineering, and technology; preventing class size increases; maintaining school libraries, instructional materials and classroom technology, shall Dublin Unified School District renew the expiring $96 parcel tax for nine years, raising $1,700,000 annually, with senior exemptions, independent oversight, no money for administrators' salaries and all funds for Dublin schools?"

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