The Pleasanton school board agreed last night to ask voters to approve a $233 a year parcel tax in a special election June 2. If approved by at least two-thirds of the voters who cast ballots in the election, the tax would take effect July 1.
The tax would expire after four years and its use would be monitored by both the school board and a new seven-member oversight committee that would consist of Pleasanton residents who are paying the tax and who are not employees of the school district.
The ballot language would read as follows: "To preserve educational quality and protect Pleasanton schools from severe state budget cuts, keep class sizes small, maintain essential reading and math support programs, libraries, music, counselors, technology instruction, music, and safe, clean schools with no proceeds used for administrators' compensation, shall the Pleasanton Unified School District be authorized to levy an annual $233 parcel tax for four years, with guaranteed audits, senior and disabled exemptions, an independent citizens' oversight committee and all funds benefiting our Pleasanton students?"
From the ballot language, the district compiled a cost break down of the programs listed, totaling $4,584,000. Estimating 20,000 parcels and subtracting the county assessor's office fee of 1.7 percent ($77,928), they arrived at $233 per parcel. That list can be found here: Parcel Tax Breakdown
Board members, who voted unanimously to place the parcel tax proposal on the June ballot, said the funds are needed to lessen the impact of state budget cuts, which would reduce Pleasanton's funding by $8.7 million in fiscal 2009-10, which starts July 1.
The parcel tax, if approved, would be collected from property owners twice a year at the $233 annual rate. Seniors as well as those on disability could ask to be exempt from the tax by filing an exemption request and renewing it each year.
The school district has held several meetings to gauge the public's opinion on the issue. It has also received hundreds of emails. About 250 attended tonight's meeting in the multipurpose room of Amador Valley High School, where, as before, the majority of speakers said they are in favor of the tax to help maintain the current quality of education.
Already, a group called Save Pleasanton Schools has been organized to campaign for the parcel tax. It will hold its first rally at 4 p.m. Sunday at Valley Community Church on Del Valle Parkway.
Currently, no one has put together a committee opposing the parcel tax.