School Board approves new parcel tax measure for Nov. 5 ballot

The Board of Education on Wednesday night formally approved placing a new parcel tax measure on the November 5, 2024 ballot. The move comes after a contentious year of negotiations with the teachers union over salary and benefits. The school board decided this spring to pursue a new parcel tax to bring in more funds to help stave off deep budget cuts in order to meet the union’s demands. Survey results conducted by an outside consultant and reported to the board in early June found significant community support (77% of surveyed respondents) for a new tax.

The new parcel tax needs 2/3 voter approval to pass and would go into effect July 1, 2025.

Ballot language:

To attract and retain highly qualified teachers and educational support staff and continue funding advanced academic programs, shall Piedmont Unified School District’s measure renewing the school parcel tax for 8 years be adopted at the rate of 50 cents per square foot of building improvements, providing 5 million dollars in annual school funding that can’t be taken away by the State, with independent citizen oversight and all money locally controlled?

Board members said the parcel tax campaign committee led by Beach parent Dave Karol and PHS/PMS parent Claire Arno will start in earnest in mid-August. Running a parcel tax campaign is an all-hands-on-deck effort and Board liaison to the campaign Hilary Cooper encouraged community volunteers to join the effort.

Board member Cory Smegal acknowledged that APT president Dr. Elise Marks was a driving force in moving this effort forward after months of impasse between PUSD and APT.

“I encourage everyone in the community to get involved,” said Smegal. “By supporting the parcel tax you are supporting our teachers and staff.”

“School financing in California is not ideal,” said Board President Veronica Anderson Thigpen. “This is something we have to do.”

One thought on “School Board approves new parcel tax measure for Nov. 5 ballot

  1. I have not taken a position on the merits of the new proposed tax, but there are clearly serious problems with the proposed 75-word ballot language. As you know, the 75 words are all that most voters read. Under the State Elections Code, the 75 words are required to be fair, accurate and most importantly, impartial.
    We won’t know how big an increase is being proposed, how much it will cost the average homeowners, whether the existing tax will expire when the new one is enacted, etc.
    The proposed verbiage contains extraneous words only included to sway voters. The state doesn’t take money away from school districts, it provides most of the funds. The money will only be spent in Piedmont, it says. Where else would you expect it to be spent?
    The school district has until August 9th to submit corrected language to the Registrar of Voters. Hopefully it will.

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