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Mayor Supports Parcel Tax for School District

The state should make an effort to correct inequities between school districts, he said.

Mayor Jeff Ira answers the following questions:

  • Do you support a parcel tax to aid public education in Redwood City?
  • Why did the parcel tax fail in 1993, 2005 and 2009?
  • What are your thoughts on the large differences in funding between districts like Woodside and Redwood City?
Jack Hickey May 24, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Steve Penna (Spectrum Magazine) in his post election analysis of the shocking defeat of the Measure E parcel tax in 2009 made the following suggestions (1) Banning tenure in all possible forms. (2) Basing teacher salary on year-over-year intra-pupil performance improvement. (3) Introducing a voucher-based payment system applicable to any accredited (public or private) school. These are things the District should do without a parcel tax. Steve's #3 suggestion is close to what I have been advocating for years. The main difference is that my proposals are education based, not school based. My Performance Accountability Voucher for Education, originated in 1979 can be reviewed at http://pave2010.com/ My Property Tax Credits for Education proposal is mentioned in my Daily Journal OpEd "School funding — 55 percent bonds and parcel taxes" at: http://smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?type=opinions&title=School funding — 55 percent bonds and parcel taxes&id=35487&eddate=10/19/2004
Jack Hickey May 24, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Steve's comments can be read at: http://spectrummagazine.net/pdfs/2009_07_SpectrumArchive.pdf Steve Penna's pre-election coverage is found at http://spectrummagazine.net/pdfs/2009_06_SpectrumArchive.pdf The Daily Journal OpEd "School funding — 55 percent bonds and parcel taxes" can be found in the 10/19/2004 archived edition at http://smdailyjournal.com/
Philippe May 24, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Wait ... an increase in property tax? Mine is already ten times higher than my neighbor. I sure hope it won't be something across the board ...
Hernan Epelman May 24, 2011 at 04:44 PM
I'm glad the Mayor supports a Parcel Tax initiative. The next time around, we need all sectors of our community working together to pass the Parcel Tax: government, businesses and of course, parents. The last couple of times around it felt to me, as a parent, that we were all alone fighting for the cause. In Palo Alto, where they pass these every few years it's inspiring to see the whole community out in force actively campaigning.
Laura Whittaker May 24, 2011 at 05:43 PM
At last nights City Council meeting they voted to put a business tax initiative on the November ballot. We all know who ends up paying for that in the long run - us! Now Mayor Ira is supporting another local tax for the school district. When will it end? With his and others attitudes of tax, tax, tax, I will at this point be voting NO on all in November. Maybe they should try and take it one tax at a time then maybe us voters - who will be taxed - won't be in complete shock.
Elaine Park May 24, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Well over 80% of all children in California are educated through the public education system, and they make up 1 in 8 school-aged children in the nation. It is painful to pay local taxes, but we need to take responsibility for our own future and ensure that we have a well educated citizenry, not a massive population of people who are unable to take the high-tech jobs our economy depends on. Redwood City is alone on the entire Peninsula as the town that doesn't have a parcel tax to support its schools. Can it be that the people of Menlo Park, San Carlos, and Palo Alto are more foolish than us? Or are we the ones who are unable to make good choices?
Linda Thomas May 24, 2011 at 07:10 PM
I do not object to being taxed a little more if it means our children will be educated at the same level as their peers are in communities surrounding Redwood City. It is disgraceful that our children year after year have to bear the inequities of the present system of funding education. Until true education funding reform is in place in Sacramento, I feel a responsibility as a citizen -- a senior citizen on a fixed income, in fact -- to help pay more for a better educated population and eventual workforce. Linda Thomas
Jack Hickey May 24, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Elaine says: "...are we the ones who are unable to make good choices? If the "we" in that question is parents of school aged children, the answer is a resounding YES! Choice is at the heart of the solution. If empowered by education vouchers or property tax credits, parents would vote with their feet!
Georgia Jack May 25, 2011 at 04:19 AM
Once again, Jack, I believe your stated ideal for "school choice" is that parents get a tax credit of something around $10K a year, these parents then seize on - what is in your mind a tremendous amount of money regardless of the fact that many privates are 20K and up (that are secular) - and the giant sucking sound of children leaving "government schools" is heard, and public education is wiped out of existence in 20 years. So parents who can pay - and itemize, thus getting the credit - and those who don't go without. oh, wait. sorry. You're real point is that society has no obligation to its citizens. Right. Have we discussed Medicare? Cause I think you qualify.
Jack Hickey May 25, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Georgia, all my proposals have postulated a tax credit or voucher in an amount equal to half or less of that which is currently expended for public school students. That means that even with the credit or voucher, the cost to taxpayers would be reduced by $5,000 for every child whose parents choose an alternative. I'm betting that a significant majority of parents will make that choice, and, most will find the $5,000 sufficient to cover the costs. Alternative education venues will fill the need in a competitive marketplace. The 20 year phaseout is contained in these excerpts from my Performance Accountability Voucher for Education: d. With an ultimate goal of promoting self sufficiency in families, the Legislature shall provide that initial year funding for this Amendment shall be reduced in equal increments over the following 20 years, at which time all funding will cease. e. Concurrent with the funding reductions in subsection (d) above, the Legislature shall reduce the sales tax and the Gann Expenditure Limit as embodied in Article XIIIb.
Elaine Park May 25, 2011 at 07:06 PM
What about kids with special education needs? Their education costs much more than $5,000. Also what private school costs $5,000? Give us one example!
Jack Hickey May 25, 2011 at 11:20 PM
I said; "Alternative education venues will fill the need in a competitive marketplace." I'm sure their are more than a few entrpreneurs among the teachers out there. Get government out of the way and let them work their skills. Solving the problem of education requires thinking out-of-the-box. That's what I do. And believe me, teachers, parents, administrators and school board members are in a box bound up by the unions, an archaic education code and a myriad of categorical programs! Think education first with schools as only one means. Education is a naturally occurring phenomena. Mentoring enhances the learning process. Parental choice without compulsion is essential to a positive outcome. There are many homes out there which are empty during the day while both parents work and their children are babysat by the public schools. These homes could serve as mini classrooms for neighborhood children. They could actually walk to class!
Steve Hayes May 25, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Elaine is right! - education for special needs kids could easily cost $50K per year per child.
Joan May 26, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Pay me now or pay me later. If we don't pay to educate the children in our own city NOW we will pay later for under-educated and at-risk teens and young adults. It cost a LOT more later. Redwood City schools are bearing an unfair burden of school cuts. There is almost nothing left to cut from the schools yet there is no funding and only more cuts in sight. Redwood City elementary schools feed into the same high school district where the neighboring districts spend twice as much or more per student. It is not fair to the Redwood City students.

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