School district uncertain on return of Measure D | September 12, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - September 12, 2008

School district uncertain on return of Measure D

Economy affects parcel tax passage in both directions

by Geoff Gillette

While campaigning for the Measure D parcel tax last year, San Ramon Valley Unified School District officials outlined the consequences of failing to approve the measure. When the votes were tallied, the measure missed passage by a few percentage points.

Now the clock is running.

District spokesman Terry Koehne said that the board discussed the issue of Measure D during the summer but has not yet reached a conclusion on whether to try again with voters or to allow those programs funded through the current parcel tax to be eliminated at the end of the school year. Measure D would have raised the current tax from $90 to $166.

"I know there is a lot of interest out there for us to go out for a parcel tax again. But there are a lot of factors," Koehne said.

One of those factors is the economy, but Koehne said that is a double-edged sword.

"The economy works both in favor and against," he explained. "The community needs to know that the funding is bad and with the economy it's going to get worse. With that said the economy also affects people's ability to make decisions like this when it comes to essentially voting for another tax. It's a catch-22, and it's the quandary we're in right now."

Koehne said if the decision is made to seek another parcel tax, the time to do it will be in the spring. But even that will be too late in some respects. The current tax expires next year.

"Layoff notices go out in March. And then final notices go out in May," he said. "Regardless of the vote, we may lose some staff. Some find other jobs, some leave the profession entirely."

If nothing is done, at the end of the school year several programs funded through the parcel tax will cease to be. Those include:

* Class size reductions, K-3 and ninth grade

* School libraries and librarians

* Middle and high school counselors

* Fifth grade instrumental band

If the decision is made to put another issue on the ballot, it will not affect the layoff notices going out.

"There's things we're mandated to do if we're not going to continue a program," Koehne said. CharStyle:endbullet>n