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Alameda County, CA March 5, 2013 Election
Measure A
School Support Tax
Piedmont Unified School District

Parcel Tax Measure - 2/3 Approval Required

Pass: 2,944 / 77.0% Yes votes ...... 880 / 23.0% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

To prevent local school funding from expiring and to maintain the quality of Piedmont's schools, to attract, train and retain qualified teachers, to protect programs in math, science and technology, to continue funding for music, visual and perfoming arts programs, and to keep textbooks and instructional technology up-to-date, shall the Piedmont Unified School District continue to levy a special tax as specified in the voter pamphlet, with all funds staying in Piedmont to benefit our schools?

Impartial Analysis from the Alameda County Counsel
Measure A, a Piedmont Unified School District ("District") special parcel tax measure, seeks voter approval to authorize the District to levy an eight-year special parcel tax in the amount set forth in the measure on each assessor's parcel beginning July 1, 2013, to fund the programs set forth in the measure. The District's voters previously authorized a special parcel tax assessment at variable rates that will expire on June 30, 2014. This measure will replace those variable tax rates with a flat tax rate and extend the special parcel tax assessment through June 30, 2021.

A school district has the authority to levy special taxes upon approval by two-thirds of the votes cast on the special tax proposal. (See Cal. Const. Art. XIII A, 4; Art. XIII C, 2; Cal. Gov't Code 50075-50077, 50079, & 53722.)

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure vote for approval, the funding revenue will be used for the specific purposes set forth in the full text of the measure printed in this sample ballot. Those purposes include, but are not limited to: teacher recruitment, training and retention; maintaining textbooks and instructional technology up-to-date; protecting math, science, and technology programs; and funding music, visual, and performing arts programs. The monies collected shall be accounted for separately and shall be expended only for those specified purposes.

If the measure passes, the special tax shall be assessed at the rate of $2,406.00 per parcel. The Board of Education ("Board") will determine annually the amount of the levy for the following fiscal year up to the maximum allowable rate. On an annual basis, the Board may increase the maximum allowable amount by up to 2% from the previous year.

As part of the annual budget process, the Board shall determine the total amount of the special tax and its assessed rate as outlined in the measure printed in this sample ballot. The accountability measures of California Government Code sections 50075.1 and 50075.3 shall apply to the special taxes levied under this measure.

The tax will be collected by the Alameda County Treasurer-Tax Collector at the same time and in the same manner as ad valorem property taxes are collected. Homeowners who are residing on their property and qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be exempt. Individuals seeking such an exemption must apply to the District on or before July 1 of each tax year.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure do not vote for approval, the measure will fail, and the previously-approved special tax assessment at the variable rates will continue through June 30, 2014.

  Events

League of Women Voters Piedmont Host Measure A Forum

  • February 7, 7:30 to 8:45 p.m.
    City Council Chambers
    120 Vista Ave., Piedmont

    Forum may be viewed on Piedmont's community channel
    KCOM, Channel 27.

News and Analysis

The Piedmonter

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Arguments For Measure A Arguments Against Measure A
Piedmont schools are among the best in California. Exceptional teachers, challenging programs and support from parents and the community all contribute to high student achievement.

Since 1985, Piedmont schools have benefited from stable local funding provided by our school parcel tax. The parcel tax automatically expires periodically. Piedmont voters reauthorized it in 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2009. Now the parcel tax is again set to expire.

Measure A provides nearly $9.5 million in annual funding for Piedmont schools + 30% of the school's budget. This is equivalent to 100 teachers or 60 instructional days. If Measure A fails, every classroom in Piedmont will be impacted. Teachers will be laid off, class sizes will increase, and many instructional programs will be eliminated.

As required by court decision Measure A sets a flat tax amount per parcel. In the past voters approved a yearly increase up to 5%. This measure caps the potential yearly increase to no more than 2%.

Every penny from Measure A will stay in Piedmont to benefit our schools and cannot be taken away by the State.

Measure A does not expand the educational program, but continues stable local funding for comprehensive programs in language arts, math, science and the arts.

Measure A is essential to continue to attract, train and retain the best teachers.

Measure A will keep class sizes smaller, preserve AP courses that help students qualify for excellent colleges, protect counseling services and maintain outstanding academic programs.

Good schools help protect Piedmont property values. Whether you have children in the schools or not, Measure A is a sound investment in our community and its children.

Please help us preserve quality schools in Piedmont. Please vote YES.

s/ Richard Raushenbush, President of Piedmont Board of Education
s/ Nancy McHugh, President, Piedmont Educational Foundation
s/ Dane Copeland, President, Associated Parent Clubs of Piedmont (APCP)
s/ Jon Elliott, First Chair of School Parcel Tax Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)
s/ Sue Kawaichi, Former Member and President of Piedmont Board of Education

Rebuttal to Arguments For
We support Piedmont's good schools. We want them to continue and thrive, and we are willing to pay for them with substantial taxes. But, the size of the tax requires that it be raised fairly and spent wisely. Measure A eliminates the independent oversight committee, and instead, proposes a subcommittee appointed by the very School Board that would be overseen. That's not right.

Measure B, the current school tax, continues into 2014. There is time to get the subsequent tax measure right. Why is the School Board pushing so hard to rush through a poorly designed tax proposal?

Tax fairness is another problem. Piedmonters know that our good schools raise property values. Larger properties increase in value by a larger amount than smaller properties, so they should pay more tax. Measure A's flat rate results in smaller parcels paying up to 80 times more per square foot than larger parcels. The tax should be levied on a per-squarefoot parcel and/or dwelling basis. That would be fair and uniform.

The top school districts comparable to Piedmont offer a senior exemption. Measure A doesn't. This would create an untenable burden for senior Piedmonters with limited incomes.

With more time, a fair tax with strong oversight and a senior exemption can be crafted to fund Piedmont's good schools. Measure B doesn't expire until 2014. Vote NO now, so we can vote YES when a better tax measure is proposed.

s/ James P. McCrea, Piedmont Homeowner
s/ Gregory Jurin, Piedmont Resident
s/ George D. Childs, Jr., Concerned Citizen
s/ Aaron Salloway, Piedmont Homeowners
s/ Bruce Joffe, Concerned Citizen

We Piedmonters are happy to pay more for schools, and our excellent schools are the proud result. However, no other community's school tax approaches Measure A's $2406 per parcel cost. Given the high cost, an equitable and progressive tax is needed. This can be done and provide the $9,500,000 asked for.

With 2% escalators, homeowners are being asked for $20,651 over 8 years. This financial burden falls heavily on the smaller property owners. At the extreme, a small lot owner will pay 80 times more per square foot than what the largest lot owner pays. Small lots include many fixed income seniors who most need relief from this highest in the state school tax. The fixed parcel tax is regressive, a progressive tax is needed.

Since good schools enhance property values, the most equitable solution is a tax according to dwelling area which is currently allowed for Community Colleges under Government Code 50079.1. Piedmont Unified School District should work with other districts affected by the Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District Appeals Court decision to make the minor legislative changes needed for a per square foot dwelling tax.

A senior exemption is included in all other top-ranked California school districts with a school support tax. In our region, most school districts include a senior exemption. Piedmont does not have a senior exemption and this must be included. The proposed SSI exemption for low-income seniors is meaningless in Piedmont.

A truly independent citizen oversight committee must be included in the proposed tax; currently, there is none. Piedmont schools are an integral part of our fine community; let's keep it that way, but fairly.

VOTE NO on MEASURE A. Instead, let us vote on a tax in November that is equitable, has genuine citizen oversight and a meaningful senior exemption.

s/ James P. McCrea, Piedmont Homeowner
s/ Gregory Jurin, Piedmont Resident
s/ George D. Childs, Jr., Concerned Citizen
s/ Aaron Salloway, Piedmont Homeowners
s/ Bruce Joffe, Concerned Citizen

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Make no mistake, if Measure A fails and our existing school parcel tax expires, one of every three dollars that currently support our schools will be gone. A no vote means:

  • Dozens of teachers will be laid off
  • Class sizes will increase
  • Specialized instruction in math, science, reading and writing will be reduced
  • Many honors and advanced placement courses that allow students to attend good colleges will be eliminated
  • School counselors and librarians will be cut

Cuts of this magnitude will devastate Piedmont schools.

A recent Appeals Court decision requires Piedmont to modify our existing parcel tax that has been in place for 27 years. The court decision requires that the school district modify the existing tax so all Piedmont property owners pay the same rate, fair and simple.

For almost three decades Piedmont residents have invested in improving our school district. Today it is ranked among the best in the state. People move to Piedmont for the schools and home values are a direct result of our quality schools.

The district has already made significant budget reductions. Measure A maintains the current minimum funding necessary to provide the excellent education Piedmonters expect.

Finally, the opponents simply have their facts wrong. Low-income seniors are exempt from Measure A. An independent oversight committee is required. There is no legislation pending or anticipated that will allow a different structure.

Whether you have children in the schools or not Measure A is a sound investment in our community.

Please vote Yes.

s/ Tamra C. Hege, 40-year Resident, Former Member Piedmont Board of Education
s/ Ann Trutner, 57-year Resident, Former Member Piedmont Board of Education
s/ Bill Drum, 40-year Resident
s/ Sue Smegal, Former Member Piedmont Board of Education
s/ Wesley J. Smith, Piedmont resident since 1978

Full Text of Measure A

PIEDMONT SCHOOL SUPPORT TAX

This Measure may be known and referred to as the "School Support Tax", or as Measure "A".

To prevent local school funding from expiring and to maintain the quality of Piedmont's schools, to attract, train and retain qualified teachers, to protect programs in math, science and technology, to continue funding for music, visual and performing arts programs, and to keep textbooks and instructional technology up-to-date, shall the Piedmont Unified School District continue to levy a special tax as specified in the voter pamphlet, with all funds staying in Piedmont to benefit our schools?

PURPOSE

For over a generation, the residents of the District have approved parcel taxes to support District programs for the students in Piedmont schools. Parcel taxes have allowed the District to establish and maintain a full range of educational offerings for students, including visual arts, performing arts and music, as well as comprehensive programs in math, science and technology. The depth and range of these programs have supported student achievement and preparation for success after graduation. Student achievement scores rank among the best in the State and students are admitted to, and successful at, excellent colleges and universities. Parcel taxes have proven crucial to the District's financial health, currently providing over a third of total District revenues.

The purpose of this Measure "A" is to continue the tradition of support in a measure with an eight (8) year term, which will provide the District and its taxpayers both stability and predictability in base parcel tax support. The proposed parcel tax is called "The School Support Tax." It will replace the local funding approved by the voters of the District on June 2, 2009, as Measure "B", which will otherwise expire as of July 1, 2014. This Measure "A" will replace the variable tax rate found in Measure "B", with a flat tax in order to comply with recent developments in case law.

This Measure will prevent existing school funding from expiring by continuing to provide local revenue that cannot be taken by the State and will maintain Piedmont's excellent quality of public education by attracting, training and retaining qualified teachers, maintaining small class sizes, and protecting instructional programs and services, including art and music, world language, advanced placement, school libraries, classroom technology and student counseling.

The Board of Education will fund all of the programs and purposes listed above unless it determines in any given year that changes in student population, fiscal constraints, or other changes in State or Federal funding make doing so infeasible or inadvisable. In any event, the Board of Education will not fund any program, purpose, or reduction, other than those listed above, from the proceeds of the special taxes.

The School Support Tax would be in effect, beginning July 1, 2013, at the rate shown below on each assessor's parcel located wholly or partially within the boundaries of the Piedmont Unified School District, and end on June 30, 2021.

ACCOUNTABILITY PROCEDURES


(a) Annual Tax Hearing: The Board of Education will administer this continuing tax with the financial rectitude and community participation it has demonstrated in the past. Each year, as part of the annual budget adoption process, the Board will first determine the total amount of expenditures necessary to provide a superior educational program, including the specialized services and programs detailed above, and deduct therefrom the projected revenue to be gathered from sources other than this special tax.


(b) Determination of Levy: The difference, if any, between the cost of the programs and funding from other sources shall be the maximum amount of funds to be derived from the tax authorized by this Measure for such year. If the necessary funds are such that the maximum rates set forth below are not needed, then the Board of Education shall reduce these rates proportionately so that only the necessary amount of funds are raised.


(c) Notice of Tax Hearing: Prior to the levying of the special tax in any given year, the Board of Education will conduct a public hearing on the matter. Notice of the time, date, and place of hearing shall be published pursuant to Government Code section 6061 at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the District and at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing. Following the public hearing each year, the Board of Education shall adopt a resolution establishing the amount of tax to be raised for that year and the rate per parcel, which shall not exceed the amounts enumerated below. Any tax levied shall become a lien upon the properties against which taxes are assessed and collectible as herein provided.


(d) Statutory Requirements: In accordance with the requirements of California Government Code sections 50075.1 and 50075.3, the following accountability measures, among others, shall apply to the special taxes levied in accordance with this Measure: (a) the specific purposes of the special tax shall be those purposes identified above; (b) the proceeds of the special tax shall be applied only to those specific purposes identified above; (c) a separate, special account shall be created into which the proceeds of the special taxes must be deposited; and (d) an annual written report shall be made to the Board of Education of the District showing (i) the amount of funds collected and expended from the proceeds of the special taxes and (ii) the status of any projects or programs required or authorized to be funded from the proceeds of the special taxes, as identified above, and (iii) recommendation to the Board of Education as to the levy amount for the subsequent year's tax.


(e) School Support Tax Advisory Subcommittee: An annual written report shall be prepared and submitted to the Board of Education by the School Support Tax Advisory Subcommittee ("Subcommittee") of the Budget Advisory Committee ("BAC"). All residents of the Piedmont Unified School District are eligible to apply for membership on the BAC on an annual basis. Members of the Subcommittee must be homeowners in the Piedmont Unified School District community and subject to the School Support Tax and not current employees of PUSD. Each year there shall be no fewer than three (3) and no more than five (5) volunteers identified by November of each year to serve on the Subcommittee. It is the responsibility of the District Superintendent or designee to verify eligibility of the volunteers. The President and Vice President of the Board of Education shall approve all nominees to the Subcommittee. The Subcommittee shall work directly with the Chief Business Officer of the District to review School Support Tax uses and report to the Board of Education at the first public hearing held each year to determine the subsequent year's levy. Members of the Subcommittee commit to regularly attend meetings of the BAC. The Board will adopt the specific charge of the School Support Tax Advisory Subcommittee no later than May 5, 2013, after two public hearings at Regular School Board meetings. Any change to the charge of the Subcommittee will require public hearings at Regular Board meetings and must be approved by the Board.

ADMINISTRATION OF TAX


(a) Manner of Tax: Subject to two-thirds approval of the voters, the qualified special tax shall become effective as of July 1, 2013, and be collected by the Alameda County Tax Collector at the same time, in the same manner, and subject to the same penalties as general ad valorem property taxes collected by said tax collector. The tax and penalty shall bear interest at the same rate as the rate for unpaid ad valorem property taxes until paid.


(b) Tax Issues: With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the Alameda County Tax Assessor or other appropriate County tax official shall make all final determinations of tax exemption or relief for any reason, and that decision shall be final and binding. With respect to matters specific to the levy of the special tax, the decisions of the District shall be final and binding. The procedures described herein, and any additional procedures established by the Board of Education, shall be the exclusive claims procedure for claimants seeking an exemption, refund, reduction, or re-computation of the special tax. The District, in coordination with the County, shall determine whether it will be the District or the County who shall determine the issue.


(c) Supplemental Regulations: The Board of Education may adopt such additional or supplemental procedures as it deems necessary or convenient for the administration of the special tax.


(d) Parcel Tax Exemptions: Homeowners who are residing on their property and qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be exempt. This could apply to adults who are blind or otherwise disabled, with limited income and resources, as well as to people 65 years of age and older without disabilities who meet the income limits prescribed by SSI. Individuals seeking such exemption must submit an application to the District, including proof that the individual has been determined to be eligible for SSI by the Social Security Administration, on or before July 1 of each tax year. The District shall provide a list to the Tax Collector on an annual basis, on or before a date established by the Tax Collector of each year, of the parcels which the District has approved for the SSI Exemption, as described herein.

RATES

The special tax shall be assessed at the rate of $2,406, per parcel.

For parcels divided by Tax Code Area lines, the payment for the portion of the parcel within the Piedmont Unified School District shall be the same as the above.

ADJUSTMENT OF RATE

The Board will determine, on an annual basis, the amount of the levy for the following fiscal year, up to the maximum allowable rate shown above. The Board may also increase the maximum allowable amount by up to 2% from the previous year. If, in any given year, the Board elects to levy an amount less than the maximum allowable rate, it may, in subsequent years, levy the maximum allowable rate.

PROTECTION OF FUNDING

Current law forbids any decrease in State or Federal funding to the District because of the District's adoption of a parcel tax. However, if any such funds are reduced because of the adoption of this parcel tax, then the amount of the special taxes will be reduced annually as necessary in order to restore such State or Federal funding.


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Created: May 2, 2013 14:23 PDT
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