On November 5, Piedmonters will see two measures on their ballots in support of local schools, Measure G and Measure H.
The Yes on G & H website states that Piedmont schools need at least $2.6 million more annually to help maintain Piedmont’s educational programs.
Measure G is a continuation of the current tax, Measure A, passed in 2013 which has an expiration date of June 30, 2021. It is a flat tax across every parcel in town. Its primary purpose is to support educational programs, maintain smaller class sizes, and supplement teachers in the classrooms.
If passed, Measure G will begin July 1, 2020 (supplanting Measure A) and end on June 30, 2028. The official Measure G language states: “To maintain the high quality of education in Piedmont schools, continue funding programs in math, science, technology, engineering, English, music, and arts, keep textbooks and instructional technology up to date, maintain smaller class sizes, and attract and retain qualified teachers.”
It does not state on the official language, but Measure G will also support student counseling, school libraries, and advanced college prep course offerings.
To do this, Measure G asks voters to renew the Measure A parcel tax at an annual rate of $2,763 per parcel for eight years.
Measure G would provide $10.8 million dollars annually with independent citizen oversight and all money staying local.
Like Measure A, Measure G would exempt churches, public utilities, and those eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income. Measure G will continue to permit an inflation growth rate of up to two percent per year.
Measure G accounts for more than 25 percent of PUSD’s budget.
According to the Updated Background School Support Tax memo presented at the School Board meeting on June 26, 2019, Measure A currently raises $10,414,176 to support Piedmont Schools. This translates into $2,656 per parcel (3921 taxable parcels in Piedmont).
Measure H is about the recruitment and retention of Piedmont teachers
Measure H, the companion tax, will help support all teachers – specifically strengthening the district’s ability to offer competitive salaries — and to be able to keep teachers who often can’t make it in the Bay Area where the cost of living is so high.
Needing to address teacher pay
The recent School Board meeting on Sep. 11 was a tear-jerker with hardly any dry eyes in the room. Eighteen teachers – members of the Association of Piedmont Teachers (APT) lined up to voice their struggles.
The stories shared the realities of living as a teacher in and around the Bay Area – rising rents, long commutes (alongside long work hours) and the need to juggle multiple jobs and support their families.
APT is asking the School Board for a 3.46 percent wage increase.
The details of Measure H
The official Measure H language states: “To provide critically needed funding to attract and retain high quality teachers and educational support staff.”
If passed, Measure H will begin July 1, 2020 and end on June 30, 2028.
To do this, Measure H will levy a tax of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements. Measure H does not include an inflation growth rate.
It would provide $2.6 million dollars annually in dedicated funding for Piedmont schools for eight years, with independent citizen oversight and all money staying local.
The Updated Background School Support Tax memo states that “Passage of Measure H would result in an additional $2.6 million to the Piedmont schools.”
Measure H would exempt churches, public utilities, and those eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income.
Community survey results showed support for both taxes.
A survey, conducted by True North consultants in April 2019 showed that 72.7 percent of respondents strongly favored using the measures to attract and retain highly qualified teachers.
Among top issues raised by those who voiced opposition to the measures in the True North survey were that Piedmont has one of the highest parcel taxes in the state, and the economic difficulty for those on fixed incomes (i.e. seniors), who struggle to make ends meet.
Sensitive to the number of seniors in the community, campaign co-chair Christine Wente von Metzsch says that “ even for those who don’t have kids in schools, these measures are essential for preserving property values. For anyone who owns a home in Piedmont, this is one of our greatest investments. People move here for schools.”