Ross Valley School District parcel tax, Measure A (June 2012)

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A Ross Valley School District parcel tax ballot question was on the June 5, 2012 ballot for voters in the Ross Valley School District in Marin County, where it was approved.[1]

Measure A means the parcel tax assessment for property owners in the district will be $458/year. This will be in effect for 8 years. The annual amount will automatically increase 4% during each of the 8 years.[2]

Property owners in the district were already paying a parcel tax of $309/year at the time they voted on Measure A. That tax was due to expire in 2014. It was most recently re-approved in 2005. (Voters in the district approved the original parcel tax in the district -- which was $136/year -- in 1993. This was re-approved in 1997 and again in 2005).

The tax raises about $2.3 million a year for the district, out of a total annual budget of about $18 million.[3]

The net effect of approving the June 5 Measure A parcel tax is that the parcel tax paid by property owners in the district will increase by $149 per year, and the tax will expire (or require another renewal vote) in 2020, instead of in 2014.

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was needed for approval. The school district includes 15,813 registered voters who were eligible to vote on the measure.

Election results

Measure A
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 6,225 73.92%
No2,19626.08%
These final results are from the Marin County elections office.

Support

  • Eileen Rohan, the Ross Valley Superintendent of Schools, argued that the measure was required partly because Jerry Brown's California Tax Increase Initiative might fail. She said, "Should the (governor's) initiatives fail in November, we will be in a deficit. Our immediate needs are real."[4]
  • Heidi Weller, a school board trustee, said, "We will have significantly low funds even if (the governor's) taxes pass. If they don't pass, we'll have a loss of $700,000 to $900,000, effective immediately. We haven't budgeted for that, so we'd have to dip into our reserves. The thought of not doing what we can to protect ourselves from that decision — right now — is worrisome."[4]

Polling information

The school district hired Godbe Research in January 2012 to poll voters in the district as to what level of parcel tax they would most likely to be willing to vote for. Godbe Research, based on the polling they conducted, recommended a parcel tax increase ballot question of about $99/year, versus the $149/year increase that the district ultimately decided to ask for.[4]

Annelise Bauer, a school board trustee, said, "The consultant would have been more comfortable with $99. So it's a little bit risky, but we were willing to tolerate the added risk given our needs, and because we feel the state will not be helping us much in the future."[4]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Measure A: To provide local funding the State cannot take away, preserve high quality education in reading, writing, math and science, educationally sound class sizes, school libraries, and art and music instruction, and to help attract and retain highly-qualified teachers, shall the Ross Valley School District renew its existing parcel tax for another eight years, increasing it by $149 per year, with no funds used for administrators’ salaries and an exemption for seniors, and requiring annual audits?[5]

Cost of election

See also: Costs of administering local elections

It cost the school district about $40,000 to conduct the June 5 election. Marin County election officials administered the election, and the school district is required to reimburse the county for those costs. It costs somewhere between $1.50 and $2.50 for each voter to administer an election in Marin County, and there are 15,813 registered voters living within the confines of the school district.[4]

See also

References