Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Board Places Emergency Parcel Tax on November Ballot

The Board of Education July 13 approved placing a measure on November's ballot that would set an emergency, five-year parcel tax on each property in the district.

The proposed tax is expected to raise nearly $50 million annually from 2011-16 that would be used to: give schools $150 per student; fund class-size reduction in grades kindergarten through three; focus on math, science and English proficiency in middle and high schools; and continue improvements in classroom instructional technology. Both district-run and charter-operated schools will receive funds.

Board members approved the recommendation of Superintendent Bill Kowba, who in his report to the Board said the emergency tax is needed to maintain minimum educational standards during a time when the State of California is unable to maintain adequate funding for education. San Diego Unified has been forced to cut more than $400 million -- 20 percent -- from its operating budget over the last four years, while enrollment has remained stable.

'"This measure will give the voters of the district the opportunity to consider the fiscal position of the district," Kowba said in the Board report, "and to make a decision to provide emergency funds that are necessary to partially replace state cuts to education that impact all students in the district."

The emergency tax will cost homeowners $98 per year. Apartments and multi-family, commercial and industrial properties will pay at different rates. An independent citizens' committee will oversee the fund.

Passage of the measure requires a yes vote from two-thirds of those voting in the Nov. 2 election. Only voters in the San Diego Unified School District will be taxed and will be voting on the measure.

For more information on the proposal, go to www.sandi.net/parceltax