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Ballot Arguments Against RCSD Parcel Tax Measure "W"

This is an opportunity to read the Ballot Arguments and Rebuttals for the Redwood City School District's Parcel Tax Measure "W" before you get your sample Ballots.

Ballot Arguments and Rebuttals for Measure W have been filed. Those supporting the Measure are attached as image PDF files. Those opposing are appended below.

Rebuttal to Argument In Favor of Measure W

Unfounded Pessimism
In 1993, 2005, and 2009, proponents promised dire consequences if voters didn’t pass parcel taxes.  All failed—and student achievement, test scores, etc., improved anyway. WITHOUT A PARCEL TAX, general fund revenue grew 4.9% per year on average; from $33 million in 1993 to $81 million today.

Are we alone?
Hardly.  The vast majority of California school districts do NOT levy a parcel tax.*
$13 million in cuts??

Since 2007/2008 general fund revenue increased from $78 to $81 million.**
 

Lowest funded??
Of the 9 comparable elementary school districts in San Mateo County*****, RCSD ranked #3 in per student funding (and #2 in average teacher pay).*****

Only $4972 per student??


That’s just one component of general fund revenue.  Revenue from all sources totals roughly $90 million, or $10,160 per student.***

50% class size growth??
Between 2001 and 2011, average class size increased from 23.1 to 25.5 students.******

Stabilize funding??
A fixed-size surtax can’t reduce year-to-year variability in the budget.
But you can prevent a 1½ % drop in funding 5 years from now by voting against Measure W today...

------------------------------

*http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Parcel_tax_elections_in_California

** Second Interim Budget Report 2011-2012 projection, p 13. http://www.rcsdk8.net/Page/81

*** ibid, pps 8, 81;  RCSD Average Daily Attendance (ADA) = 8902 **** with ADA exceeding 2500 students

***** using “Compare Districts” tool for 2009/10.  http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/

****** using “District Profile” tool for 2000/01 and 2010/11.  http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/   

 

Argument Against Measure W 

Do the math:  That’s $335 in new parcel taxes over the next 5 years! Many people need that money to pay their bills. 

Or eat dinner. 64% of students in our district come from low-income families qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch programs. 

For a miniscule increase in the District’s budget (roughly 1½ % —a fraction of administrative spending), Measure W would force them to skimp on necessities, or pile up credit card debt.

Wouldn’t it be more efficient to spend $335 on your children yourself, rather than turn it over to a faceless bureaucrat who might do something worthwhile with it? Not counting state taxes we pay, annual property taxes to support the RCSD* already exceed $1,600 per parcel on average.  Renters can’t deduct property taxes, even though their rent pays for them.

Just what is this parcel tax for?

Some board members .   One responded “Some people might not be interested in P.E. fields”. ** Given the vague language that evolved, who knows what they will do with this money.

Independent Oversight Committee?  Ha!

The Board itself would determine its “composition, duties, funding…formation, and operation”.  Did you spot the part about funding?  Just what we need—more yes-men in the bureaucracy, doing nothing of real value. Remember when the San Mateo Community College District board built a health club with bond money, right under the nose of their “Independent Oversight Committee”?

Our community is an island of relative affordability, surrounded by California’s most expensive school districts.  Please, vote NO, and help keep Redwood City affordable.

*   Note: a complex ERAF/State Aid funding swap arrangement obscures reporting of property taxes.

Read the Arguments.  Demand the facts!  Post your comments.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Buck Shaw March 30, 2012 at 12:05 AM
I went to district office to ask for list of "Independent Oversight Committee" members. I got the run around for 7 weeks. I was even asked to fill out in writting a reason why I wanted to know. Part of Bond issue language says any payor or member of distrrict can have access to Oversight Committee at any time. After finally demanding at the runaround the district emailed the list on a spread sheet. They had it all the time and just played the game of delay, shuffel, distract, and yes lie. Saying they didn't have it right now it was in a file in districts office at another location.... Its as simple as this. You can ask for the money, explain your justification. Then we decide. But when you "the district" cover up, hide things in the budget, hide facts and figures in the Tax issues, hide information like your guilty. You don't deserve the added money even if I want you to have it. You won't get your Allowance unless you take out the garbage...
Jack Hickey March 30, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Speaking of Committees created by the District, take a look at this excerpt from a Parcel Tax Discussion agenda item from their August 10 meeting: http://rcsd.csbaagendaonline.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/rcsd-eAgenda.woa/wo/3.0.7.1.3.0.0.7.2.0.40.7.0.19.3.2.3.1.13.1.1.0.0.3.1 "Last fall the district hired Godbe Research to conduct a poll to evaluate potential support for a parcel tax. In January, results of that poll were presented to a Parcel Tax Feasibility Committee comprised of parents and community leaders who were charged with making recommendations to the Superintendent about whether the district should pursue a parcel tax, and if so, what timing should be considered. One of the recommendations that came from the work of the Parcel Tax Feasibility Committee was to form a small committee comprised of politically experienced community members who could begin assessing community support for a possible 2012 parcel tax campaign. This committee was formed, and a group of former school board members, current and former Redwood City Council members and local business leaders has been meeting since March." to be continued...
Jack Hickey March 30, 2012 at 06:11 AM
"This citizens' committee then asked the district to convene a group of parent leaders representing a variety of schools, neighborhoods and student grade levels in order to gather input from the parent community. A group of about 25 parents, principals and staff met on June 21 to discuss how the parent community might be engaged in supporting a potential ballot measure. The meeting was moderated by two members of the citizens' committee. At the end of the meeting, various members of the community had an opportunity to indicate whether they were interested in working on the committee. The committee, now consisting of an expanded group of local citizens, then held a series of subsequent meetings on June 30, July 13 and July 21 to further assess possible support for a measure and begin pre-campaign planning." This is the type of grass roots organization efforts used by Wilson Riles and Marion Joseph which Senator Paul Carpenter tried to stop in 1979. See: http://pawmeister.com/PAbackground.htm The expenditure of taxpayer dollars by the District for "political advocacy" is misappropriation of public funds, which is a felony.
Jack Hickey March 30, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Then there is the YES on W Committee, which raised $49,364 this year and had $66,098 in the bank on 3/17/2012. Contributors of note were: *Redwod City Education Foundation (tax exempt) $16,000 *Beth Hunkapiller (San Carlos) $10,000 *Colleen Tate (Portola Valley) $5,000 Unidos y Adelante PTA (tax exempt) $999 Why couldn't that money have gone directly to support the District? Follow the money! Take a look at the RCSD warrants on their website. They are linked to meeting agenda's.
John Foley May 07, 2012 at 08:13 AM
Another excellent analysis by Mr. Hickey. I work in the district and will be voting a resounding NO on this tax. Hidden agendas and politics behind closed doors must stop. Too bad the superintendent didn't completely clean out the debris left from the prior "leader." until that happens----no $.

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