Acalanes Union High School District Parcel Tax Question, Measure A (May 2014)

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An Acalanes Union High School District Parcel Tax, Measure A ballot question was on the May 6, 2014 election ballot for voters in the Acalanes Union High School District in Contra Costa County, California, where it was approved.

Measure A renewed an annual parcel tax of $112 per parcel, which was approved as Measure A in 2010 and was set to expire in 2015. This tax had generated about $3.9 million per year for the district in the past, which amounted to eight percent of the total district budget and funded over 40 teacher positions. Measure A had an exception for seniors.[1][2]

Voters approved Measure G in 2010, authorizing a parcel tax of $189 per parcel, which raised about $6.6 million annually for the district and did not have a sunset date.[1]

A two-thirds supermajority vote was required for approval of Measure A.

Election results

Measure A
Approveda Yes 21,631 74.55%
Election results from Contra Costa County Elections office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The official ballot question for Measure A was:[3]

In order to preserve the high quality of education in our local high schools, continue offering advanced courses in math, science, technology, music and the arts, attract and retain highly qualified teachers, and maintain manageable class sizes, shall the Acalanes Union High School District, with no increase in the current rate, continue to levy a $112 per-parcel tax with an exemption for seniors, and all money staying in our community to benefit our local high schools?[4]

Impartial analysis

The following statement was submitted as an impartial analysis of Measure A by the county counsel:

The Governing Board of the Acalanes Union High School District has adopted a resolution proposing a parcel tax (a qualified special tax). This ballot measure asks voters to decide whether a parcel tax should be imposed on parcels within the District beginning July 1, 2015. District voters previously approved the Measure A parcel tax in 2010. The Measure A parcel tax expires on June 30, 2015, according to the District. If this measure passes, a parcel tax of $112 per year would be levied on each parcel of taxable real property within the District beginning July 1, 2015. The measure does not include an expiration date for the parcel tax. A parcel of taxable real property is any unit of real property located in the District that receives a separate property tax bill from the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office. The parcel tax would not be levied on parcels that are exempt from paying property taxes. The measure also states that any person 65 years of age or older who owns and occupies property may apply to the District to be exempt from payment of the tax. The ballot measure states that the proceeds from the parcel tax will be used to "fund advanced courses in math, science, technology,music and the arts, attract and retain highly qualified teachers, keep textbooks and instructional materials up-to-date, maintain manageable class sizes, provide librarians, counselors, and career training, keep technology up-to-date, and to the extent funds are available, to maintain the District's academic programs, including the purchase of instructional equipment, materials and supplies." Proceeds from the parcel tax may be used only for the specific purposes set forth in the ballot measure and according to constitutional and statutory provisions.

State law requires the District's chief fiscal officer to file an annual report with the District's Governing Board that states the amount of funds received and expended in each year and the status of any projects required or authorized to be funded with parcel tax proceeds. State law also requires the proceeds from the parcel tax to be deposited into a designated account. The measure requires the District's Governing Board to establish a Citizens' Oversight Committee, which may be the existing Measure A oversight committee, to ensure proceeds for the parcel tax are spent for the purposes set forth in the ballot measure.

Two-thirds of those voting on the ballot measure must approve the measure for it to pass.

A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of authorizing the parcel tax. A "no" vote is a vote against authorizing the parcel tax. [4]

—Contra Costa County Counsel, [5]


"Yes for Acalanes High Schools - Yes on A" campaign logo


A "Yes for Acalanes High Schools - Yes on A" campaign was formed to support Measure A.[2]

The following people signed the official arguments in favor of Measure A:[5]

  • Ed Stokes, Lafayette resident and owner of Diablo Foods
  • Linda Landau, 2010 Orinda Citizen of the Year
  • Paul Rosenzweig, chairman of the Golden Rain Foundation(Rossmoor) Audit Committee
  • Kathy Ranstrom, attorney and Moraga community volunteer
  • Robert Stankus, Walnut Creek resident and business owner

Arguments in favor

Acalanes Superintendent John Nickerson stated that there would be a "significant reduction" in academic programming, as well as fewer teachers and an increase in class size, if this parcel tax had not been renewed. He also indicated that about 40 district employees could have been fired if the district had been forced to operate without the revenue from the tax.[1]

Official arguments

The following arguments were submitted in favor of Measure A:

Without raising tax rates, Measure A will continue the local funding necessary to provide advanced core academic programs in math, science, technology, English, foreign language, and the arts, to prepare Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, and Walnut Creek high school students for college and 21st century careers. Measure A funds will be spent locally to benefit our high school students. No funds can be taken away by the State or used for other purposes.

For over 20 years, our communities have generously supported our local high schools, by approving local revenue measures. Measure A will continue, without increase, the local funding voters have already approved to ensure that the quality of teaching and coursework will remain at the current high level.

Measure A is essential to maintain our outstanding neighborhood schools. Acalanes Union High School District has consistently been the top-rated high school district in California. The strong academic achievement at our schools helps maintain high property values in the local communities served by Acalanes, Campolindo, Las Lomas and Miramonte High Schools.

Measure A will provide vital funding to preserve:

  • Advanced programs in math, science and technology
  • The ability to attract and retain highly qualified teachers
  • Funding for art and music programs
  • Up-to-date classroom technology and instructional materials
  • Safe, well-maintained schools
  • Academic support services from librarians and counselors
  • Manageable class sizes

Measure A will continue reliable, stable funding to provide a comprehensive education to over 5,000 local students each year, without raising tax rates. All expenditures will be audited and monitored by an Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee. Senior citizens will be offered an exemption. Good schools help maintain the quality of life in our community.

Please continue your support of local schools by voting Yes on Measure A. [4]

—Ed Stokes, Linda Landau, Paul Rosenzweig, Kathy Ranstrom, Robert Stankus, [5]



Arguments against

The following arguments were submitted in opposition to Measure A:

Politicians foolishly squander our tax money on stupid projects, consultants and overpaid, arrogant administrators, then ask for more. What the public wants the most, is always on the ballot. It's usually schools and roads. Then public money is squandered on everything else, like water tunnels, city council chambers, public art and trains to nowhere. When will the foolish public wise up? The senior exemption is a trick to convince people to vote their neighbors and their own home's future owners, out of their money. Some seniors won't remember to apply, fill out, or return their exemption form. They will be gouged without mercy.

Some seniors wanting media glory, file their exemption, then promote tax increases..

Propagandists use treacherous heirs, heiresses, and the corrupt media, to promote their cause. The wealthy and huge rental complexes are charged the same amount as the poorest person in the district. What's fair about that?

Why don't these treacherous media darlings donate their own money to the schools and stop begging for donations to promote higher taxes.

If voters ever wise up enough to vote against every tax that appears on the ballot, the bureaucracies will have to become more efficient. But no! They keep squandering money.

Propagandists will do everything possible to convince people NOT to read this free fine print against their tax. They don't want anyone to actually think. They want everyone to do as they are told.

Politicians never want people to ask questions.

I can't find a news source that will write anything even slightly detrimental about the politicians or their parcel taxes.

However you vote, it's 100% certain, the politicians and their media comrades will demand more money from you. [4]

—Bruce R Peterson, [5]


  • The Contra Costa Times editorial board wrote an article urging voters to reject Measure A because it turned a temporary parcel tax into a permanent one that was not set to expire.[6]


Early in January, an Encinitas-based company called TrueNorth Research conducted a survey about the proposed parcel tax ballot measure, receiving supportive responses from a majority of voters polled.[1]

Superintendent Nickerson said, "I think the voters in Lafayette represent the voters in all of our district's communities, and they support reasonable local taxation to support the high quality in our schools."[1]

Similar measures

Approveda Measure B: Lafayette School District Parcel Tax Question

Related measures

Approveda Acalanes Union High School District parcel tax, Measure A (May 2010)
Approveda Acalanes Union High School District parcel tax, Measure G (November 2009)

See also

External links

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