Ed board gets parcel tax language Tuesday
Alameda’s Board of Education will get their first look Tuesday at proposed language for a parcel tax they may put before voters in March. The board is expected to vote on whether to put the tax proposal on the ballot on November 30.
The tax proposal on the table now would charge residential and commercial property owners 32 cents per square foot of building they own, with a cap of $8,500 per parcel. Property owners whose parcels don’t contain buildings would be charged a flat rate of $299. Seniors and certain disabled persons would qualify for an exemption from the tax.
The new tax, which would replace the Measure H and Measure A taxes, would raise an estimated $12.4 million a year for seven years. It’s proposed to go on the ballot on March 8, 2011 and would go into effect on July 1, 2011 if approved by two-thirds of local voters.
Measure A charges a flat rate of $189 per parcel, while Measure H charges homeowners $120 per parcel and commercial property owners 15 cents per square foot of lot with a cap of $9,500 per parcel. Seniors and disabled people who qualify for Social Security disability benefits are exempt from both taxes.
District staff has proposed that about a quarter of the tax money be used to attract and retain good teachers, with 15 to 16 percent to be used for programs to close the achievement gap between different groups of students. Another 13 to 14 percent of the money would be used to maintain small class sizes.
Money would also be allocated toward enrichment programs, maintaining neighborhood schools, secondary school choice and Advanced Placement courses, counseling and student support services, technology, adult education, high school athletic programs and charter schools.
Specific items that would be funded include maintenance of K-3 class sizes at 25 students per teacher; maintenance of elementary school music, physical education and media center programs; neighborhood elementary schools; the reinstatement five days cut from the school year this year; adult school; and high school athletic programs.
Without the money, the district – which is facing cuts of up to $20 million between this year and 2012-13, when its two existing taxes sunset and one-time funding boosts from the federal government are expected to dry up – could raise K-3 class sizes to 32 students per teacher, close three elementary schools and reconfigure the schools that remain, slash teacher salaries and eliminate a host of programs, including adult school; high school athletics; ROTC; and elementary school music, physical education and media center.
District staff are also expected to present a closure and consolidation plan Tuesday that would result in the closure of Wood Middle School and Washington, Otis and Franklin elementary schools, the conversion of Encinal High School into a 7-12 middle and high school and the restructure of its remaining schools as K-6 and K-8 schools.
An interim budget report and proposed budget reductions are also slated to be presented on Tuesday.
More information is available on the district’s website.