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Pacifica School District parcel tax, Measure L (November 2011)

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A Pacifica School District parcel tax, Measure L ballot question was on the November 8, 2011 ballot for voters in the Pacifica School District in San Mateo County, where it was approved.[1]

Pacifica voters approved the Measure N parcel tax in 2008. The Measure N parcel tax is $96/year and is set to expire in 2013.

The approval of Measure L means that the parcel tax paid by residents of the district will increase from $96/year to $118/year and, instead of the tax expiring in 2013, it will remain in place for a further five years expiring in 2017.

The Measure L tax is expected to generate about $1.2 million a year for the school district. The Pacifica School District serves 3,226 students. In 2010, it had an operating budget of $29.5 million (about $9,100 per student).[2]

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for passage.[1]

Election results

Measure L
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 5,652 69.3%
No2,50230.7%
Election results are from the San Mateo County elections office.

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

To Protect local elementary and middle schools from state budget cuts; maintain high quality education; protect academic programs in math, science, reading and writing; attract and retain qualified teachers; and, support library services and classroom computer instruction; shall Pacifica School District replace its expiring parcel tax at $118 a year for 5 years, with independent citizens oversight, exemptions for senior citizens, no funds used for administrator salaries, and all funds staying local to promote student achievement?[3][4]

Support

Those in favor of this measure, disagreed with the per-pupil cost assessments developed by Measure L opponent Todd Bray. According to the Education Data website, the per-pupil expenditures are $7,741, near two-thousand below Bray's assessment cost.[5] Proponents also argued that state funding had been consistently cut in the district and in an attempt to cut their costs schools cut funding for salaries and eliminated maintenance work. School officials hope the increase will be able to support programs such as math and reading, in order to maintain programs for struggling students and attract qualified teachers to the district.[6]

Jerry Hill (a member of the California State Assembly) and San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley endorsed Measure L.[7]

Opposition

Todd Bray wrote that he had been unable to obtain information about salaries in the Pacifica School District in August:

"I've requested PSD salary information three times now in the last few weeks. The info I'm asking for is identical to that found on State Controller John Chiang's web site that shows what employees from the City of Pacifica and the North Coast County Water District earned last year which was so helpful last spring with the fire tax. Compensation sheets list positions only (no names) and the amounts shown in Box 5 on annual W2's the District must provide each employee. PSD has no such info, I am told, which is in my opinion stone walling as W2's are an IRS requirement. I'm sure the District could easily pull this information together from their accounting software. If PSD would make public the compensation paid to it's administrators, facilities department, grounds keepers and the like, we would have a better idea of why the District is spending $9,170.74 per student. Since the District so often boasts of how little it pays it's teaching staff, the money must me going somewhere.
Clearly PSD, which is it’s own government body, needs to be more transparent to show it deserves more of our tax dollars, especially in understanding its obligation of openness to the public at large not just motivated parents who want us to further fund their children’s education. At $9,170.74 per student PSD, needs to own up and publish a full compensation sheet that includes non-classroom staff, like administrators, facilities and grounds keepers, among others, in a timely fashion well before November's vote."[2]

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