Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 12, 2010

PTA Council circulating petition

Statewide initiative seeks change in super majority for parcel tax

by Emily West

While the budget challenges facing the school district is holding steady for now, a petition to lower the super majority requirement for a parcel tax is picking up steam.

Jeff Bowser, chair of the legislative committee for the Pleasanton PTA Council, officially kicked off the petition effort in Pleasanton as he spoke to the school board at Tuesday night's meeting. Passed through the crowd, it was signed by about 100 people.

One million signatures are needed across the state in order for it to be placed on the November ballot. The effort was started by a group of people from San Carlos after a try for a constitutional amendment (SCA 6) "died," according to Bowser. It has been endorsed by the California PTA.

If passed, the new initiative would change school parcel tax requirements to only need 55 percent of the votes. In order to qualify for the change, the tax would need to be approved by two-thirds of the governing body, be for $250 or less, offer a senior exemption and include a citizens audit and oversight committee.

Measure G, the most recent parcel tax attempt that failed in June, would have met the criteria this new initiative proposes and would have passed with the new majority, with 67 percent of the voters in favor.

"I it's a chance for us to take control of school funding locally," Bowser said. "This initiative would allow local districts to do this with a lower threshold. Look at Measure G, had a 64 percent success, but needed 67. Clearly a majority of the voters approved it. [The initiative] would make it easier to implement the will of the voters."

To learn more about the Californians for Improved School Funding, visit www.improvedschoolfunding.com. The petition must be signed in person, which can be done by contacting Bowser at jeffbowser@att.net or downloading a form from the website.

Bowser said they haven't yet developed an overall strategy on how to get the petition to be widely circulated through the city, but would likely seek volunteers through the PTA organizations.

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