LWV League of Women Voters of California
Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA June 3, 2003 Election
Measure E
School Funding Measure
Mountain View-Whisman School District

Parcel Tax - 2/3 approval required

5,395 / 63.5% Yes votes ...... 3,097 / 36.5% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

To maintain quality education for students by attracting and retaining qualified and experienced teachers and staff, keeping class sizes small, maintaining arts and music programs and continuing educational programs that enhance student achievement with no money for administrator salaries, shall the Mountain View-Whisman School District be authorized to levy a 5 cents per square foot annual tax on buildings and other property improvements for five years exempting the principal residence owned by persons 65 years of age or over?

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote of this measure means:
A yes vote is a vote to approve a qualified special tax on parcels within the Mountain View-Whisman School District for a five year period of time.

A NO vote of this measure means:
A no vote is a vote not to approve the qualified special tax.

Impartial Analysis from the County Counsel
California law permits the Mountain View-Whisman School District to levy a special tax on each parcel of land within the district if the tax is approved by two-thirds of the voters voting in an election.

The Board of Trustees of the Mountain View-Whisman School District proposes levying a qualified special tax on each parcel within the district. The owners of each parcel in the district would pay 5 per square foot annual tax on buildings and other property improvements for a period of five years. The purpose of the tax is to maintain quality education for students by (1) attracting and retaining qualified and experienced teachers and staff; (2) keeping class sizes small; (3) maintaining arts and music programs; and (4) continuing educational programs that enhance student achievement. None of the proceeds of the special tax would be used for administrator salaries.

Any owner, age 65 and over, who occupies a parcel as a principal residence may be exempt from the special tax upon annual application for exemption.

The proceeds of the special tax would be deposited into a separate fund. If the special tax is approved, the district would appoint an independent fiscal oversight committee to review the expenditure of special tax proceeds. No later than January 1 of each year while the tax is in effect, the district would prepare and file with the Board of Education a report detailing the amount of funds collected and spent and the status of any project authorized to be funded by this special tax.

If the special tax is approved, the district's appropriations limit would be increased by the amount equal to the special tax collected for each year the special tax is authorized.

A "yes" vote is a vote to approve a qualified special tax on parcels within the Mountain View-Whisman School District for a five year period of time.

A "no" vote is a vote not to approve the qualified special tax.

Ann Miller Ravel
County Counsel

By: Lisa Herrick
Deputy County Counsel

  Official Information

Election Results
from the Registrar of Voters

Do you live within this school district?
provided by the Registrar of Voters

Square Footage Information
You can find out the square footage on which your tax would be based by going to the Santa Clara Co. Assessor's Office at 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose 95110 (408)299-5500. There is no charge if you go in person. If you want your property "characteristics" mailed to you there is a $3 charge. They will not give the information by phone.

Information about Mountain View-Whisman School District
(webpage) or 650-326-3554

CA State Laws - Gov't Code
click on "Gov't Code" and at the bottom of the page click on "Search". See especially sections 50075-50077.5 and sections 50079-50079.5
Supporters

Mtn. View-Whisman Comm. for Measure E
Opponents

Libertarian Party of Santa Clara Co.

Citizens for Fair Taxes No on E
no webpage located
News and Analysis

The Mountain View Voice - May 30
"Last stand for Measure E"

The Mountain View Voice - May 30
"Measure E - who's paying to support and defeat it"

The Mountain View Voice - May 23
"Tax opposition mounts"

The Mountain View Voice - May 2
"School staffers ante up to pass tax"

The Mountain View Voice - March 21
"Businesses slam school tax"

The Mountain View Voice - March 14
"Schools grapple with finance crisis"

The Mountain View Voice - March 7
"School tax heads to ballot"
Suggest a link related to Measure E
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure E Arguments Against Measure E
Mountain View children benefit from exceptional teachers, innovative educational programs, and strong support for local schools from parents and the community.

In recent years our schools have reduced class sizes for all kindergarten through third grade students, instituted preschool programs to prepare children for kindergarten, worked with the National Science Foundation to develop innovative hands-on science programs, and provided nurturing after school programs. As a result, student test scores are up.

Now, the Mountain View Whisman School District is facing severe budget cuts due to state reductions in education funding. The District has already cut back administrators and non-teaching staff to below the bare minimum. Further cuts will mean teacher layoffs and elimination of programs that will have a severe impact on the quality of classroom instruction.

Measure E will allow our school district to maintain programs that enhance student achievement. Specifically, Measure E will

  • Allow the District to continue to attract and retain quality teachers
  • Keep class sizes small
  • Maintain the District's outstanding programs in music and art
  • Provide specialists to help students with the basics, like reading, writing and math
  • Maintain after school programs including tutoring and intervention
  • Allow our schools to keep up with technology now and in the future

If approved by voters, Measure E will be in effect for only five years. All of the money raised by Measure E will stay here in our local community to benefit local children. An independent citizens' oversight committee will make sure Measure E funds are spent properly. No funds will be used to pay administrator salaries.

Quality schools are the backbone of our community and help keep property values high.

Measure E is supported by a broad coalition of teachers, parents, seniors, and business and community leaders.

Please vote Yes on Measure E.

Carol L. Fisher
President - Board of Trustees Mtn. View Whisman School District

Matt Neely
Council Member

Angela McConnell
Executive Director Community School of Music & Art

Joan MacDonald
Former School Board Member Mountain View-Los Altos High School District and Whisman School District

David H. Carter
Small Business Owner

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Measure E levies a five-cents-per-square-foot fee on all buildings in the city - WITHOUT LIMIT. This kind of parcel tax would be the FIRST OF ITS KIND in Santa Clara County. What a precedent! Mountain View enjoys a unique lifestyle that will inevitably decline as businesses are forced out due to difficult economic conditions compounded by confiscatory taxes.

The Mountain View Voice reported on March 14th that vacancies are climbing and business owners are seeking legal advice against this tax.

If Measure E passes, there's NO GUARANTEE that the State will not use it as an excuse to withhold an equivalent amount from the District in the future. This will leave us no better off, but with a NEW tax that will be enforced for FIVE YEARS.

And when the "normal" level of funding is resumed, does anyone presume the District will hold a similar special election to repeal said tax?

The District in its argument states that high property taxes make for high property values. That's putting the cart before the horse. Driving wealth-generating businesses out of Mountain View will do exactly the opposite. An enviable standard of living makes for high property values, and in turn generates higher property taxes. Obviously Economics isn't one of the District's strong points.

We support education, but not with a tax structured like this. Not while mired in the depths of a recession.

Demand prudent government. Join us in voting NO on Measure E.

Ray Strong
Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County

George M. Swenson
President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association, Inc.

Dennis Umphress
Campaign Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County

Jack Davis
Pres. Santa Clara Valley Republican Assembly

Mark W. A. Hinkle
Past Chair, Libertarian Party of California

This measure places a new $13 MILLION parcel tax before the voters. With the local unemployment rate at 8.6%, now is the wrong time to heighten financial burdens on already struggling property owners and their tenants.

Money from this new tax may be withdrawn by the state as no longer needed. There's no requirement that most of it go to maintaining programs and services that might be cut because of reduced state funding for our schools. There's no requirement that any of it go to keeping class sizes small, maintaining arts and music programs and continuing education programs that enhance student achievement.

This money could be used to fund already funded programs. Then the original funds could be diverted to any spending, whatsoever, including new administrative raises.

Why is Mountain View/Whisman Elementary School District the only district in Santa Clara Valley asking for a parcel tax based on square footage? This type of tax can be difficult to calculate.

This tax increase has been poorly thought out from start to finish. Why the rush to get this tax increase before the voters in a special election? This special election will cost the district between $150,000 and $209,000 - money that is lost from critical programs. The board hasn't fully considered whether budget cuts can be made to free up funds for the stated purposes. Families' budgets are being slashed throughout the district's homes-why not on this school board?

When private industry has to produce the same amount on less revenue due to falling competitive prices, they ask employees to be more productive. The obvious solution is to become more efficient by using more computer-based and video information technology systems.

You can be FOR students, FOR schools, and AGAINST Measure E.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE E!

For more information please visit our website at
http://www.VoteNoOnE.org

Ray Strong
Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County

Dennis Umphress
Campaign Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County

Jack E. Davis
President - Santa Clara County Republican Assembly

George M. Swenson
President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association, Inc.

Mark W.A. Hinkle
Past Chair - Libertarian Party of California

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
There are a few things you need to know about the people who wrote and signed the argument against Measure E:
  • They don't live in our school district.
  • They haven't taken the time to visit our schools or understand our needs.
  • Three of them are past or present officers of the Libertarian Party.
  • They have submitted similar arguments against most measures to benefit public schools in our region, regardless of the need or specifics.

Here are the facts:

Measure E is a frugal and carefully crafted proposal to maintain essential programs and services that would otherwise be cut because of reduced state funding for our schools.

The school district has already scaled back administrators and non-teaching staff to the bare minimum. Any further cuts will require significant teacher layoffs, increased class sizes and reductions to valued educational programs like music, art and computer instruction.

Legally, Measure E funds must be spent on retaining qualified, experienced teachers, keeping class sizes small and maintaining essential educational programs. No Measure E funds can be spent on administrator salaries. An independent oversight committee will ensure Measure E funds are spent properly.

Measure E will provide a stable funding source for our schools that cannot be raided by the State. All Measure E funds will stay in our community to benefit local children.

Measure E will only be in effect for five years and cost the average homeowner less than $6 a month - or less than 20 a day.

Vote Yes on Measure E.

Eric Windes
President, Mountain View Educational Foundation

Fara F. Brock
Los Altos-Mountain View PTA Council Co-President

Mark S. Dietz
Co-Chair, Mountain View-Whisman Budget Task Force

Martha Maris
Local Business Owner

Richard Wynne
Local Rental Property Owner

Full Text of Measure E
"To maintain quality education for students by attracting and retaining qualified and experienced teachers and staff, keeping class sizes small, maintaining arts and music programs and continuing educational programs that enhance student achievement with no money for administrator salaries, shall the Mountain View-Whisman School District be authorized to levy a 5 per square foot annual tax on buildings and other property improvements for five years exempting the principal residence owned by persons 65 years of age or over?

The exemption may be granted annually on any parcel owned by one or more persons 65 years or over who occupies said parcel as a principal residence, upon annual application for exemption.

Pursuant to California Constitution article XIIIB and applicable laws, the appropriations limit for the District will be adjusted periodically by the aggregate sum collected by levy of this special tax.

The proceeds of the special tax shall be applied only to the specific purposes identified above. The proceeds of the special tax shall be deposited into a fund, which shall be kept separate and apart from other funds of the District. The district shall appoint an independent fiscal oversight committee to review the expenditure of special tax proceeds. No later than January 1 of each year while the tax is in effect, the District shall prepare and file with the Board of Education a report detailing the amount of funds collected and expended, and the status of any project authorized to be funded by this measure.


Santa Clara Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: July 30, 2003 10:55 PDT
Smart Voter <http://www.smartvoter.org/>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund   http://ca.lwv.org
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.