Next election critical for schools | March 13, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Perspective - March 13, 2009

Next election critical for schools

How important is education to the residents of the San Ramon Valley? We will find out with the election May 5 on a parcel tax of $144 to benefit the schools.

The new parcel tax, Measure C, would replace the $90 parcel tax that expires in June. The tax would be paid yearly by property owners; residents 65 or older can get an exemption. Measure C also calls for a management committee to provide oversight and mandates no funds for administrator salaries.

If the parcel tax does not pass, cuts will go forward with counselors, music programs, school libraries and class-size reduction. The San Ramon Valley Unified School District has been frugal with its administrative costs so all that's left to cut is programs that directly affect students.

Parents already pay for extras for their students, things taken for granted by past generations. Now at registration, parents regularly write checks for $500 to $1,000 for teacher aides, music programs and sports. We could consider this a "user tax" paid by students' families.

Everyone benefits from good schools. Realtors say our school district is the No. 1 draw for families who want to move here, so the excellent schools keep our property values high. Plus everyone gains from a well educated populace.

Voters passed Measure D and Measure A in the last decade for $330 million for remodeling at all the older schools in the district. Residents want attractive, state-of-the-art facilities so they voted to pay for them.

Danville property owners voted by 87 percent in 1997 to ratify the Lighting and Landscape Assessment to upgrade and maintain their parks. Again, they showed by their votes what is important to them.

Orinda Union School District voted last week to increase its school parcel tax from $385 to $509, with 70 percent voting Yes.

Now we have a chance to prove that education is important to us by voting Yes on Measure C.