News


LASD parcel tax passing narrowly

Proponents are 'cautiously optimistic' after election night tally

As the polls closed May 3, Measure E, a new $193 annual parcel tax to benefit local schools, had the votes to pass and its proponents were optimistic. However, at least one opponent of the proposal is holding out hope that last-minute ballots will dash the two-thirds majority it needs to pass.

After all the ballots in the mail-in election were counted, Measure E led with 67.34 percent of the vote, just over two-thirds of all votes cast.

Jay Gill, a proponent of the Los Altos School District's Measure E says the tax is needed to address education cuts resulting from federal, state and local budgets being slashed.

At about 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Gill said he was "cautiously optimistic," that the parcel tax -- expected to raise $2.3 million for the district over the course of its six-year life -- would pass. He said it was still too early to call the election, however.

"I'll bite my nails a little bit," Gill said.

Ron Haley, a Los Altos Hills resident who led a campaign against Measure E, said he had his fingers crossed that his side would claim the majority of the last minute ballots cast today. "The unfortunate thing is that we're behind."

By Haley's calculation, about 90 more "no" votes would be enough to thwart the necessary two-thirds majority.

About 1,000 students living in Mountain View attend the district's seven elementary and two middle schools -- roughly 25 percent of the entire student body. Homeowners in the district already are paying $597 a year for a parcel tax passed in 2002, and a bond issue assessment of about $600 per year on a home with an assessed value of $1 million.

The Santa Clara County elections office reported Tuesday night that the vote is 8,977 in favor to 4,354 opposed, with all 16 precincts reporting. An updated tally is due at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 4.

Comments

Posted by Just Wondering, a resident of Castro City
on May 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm

As a person without kids how would I know if I live in the district in question? Some kids go to this school, some kids go to that school. I read about kids having to travel accross town when there are schools closer to where they live, make no sense and the poeple asking for the money never spelled out who percisly takes the hit.


Posted by @Just Wondering, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

If you're a registered voter and you got the ballot in the mail then you're in that district. If you didn't get the ballot then you're not.

If you're in Castro City then you're not in that district.


Posted by bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on May 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm

As of 5pm today, the updated results show that the measure is passing by a mere 0.09 percent. That is one extremely thin margin. Next update at 5pm on Friday. LASD should at least now realize that a lot of people are not pleased with their fiscal performance.

Is time for a Prop 218 ballot petition to try and overturn the existing $597 parcel tax? Ron, I'm ready to sign it.


Posted by bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on May 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Correction: The measure is passing by 0.48 percent. I was thinking 67.0 was the cut off, but it is 66.7. The YES votes currently have 67.08 percent.


Posted by Ron Haley, a resident of another community
on May 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Manual recount first! We need to turn 57 Yes to No!


Posted by localmom, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

This additional revenue for LASD is GOOD for Bullis Charter school, as there is a serious threat of increased class sizes w/o the extra cushion, and BCS would then be offered fewer classroom spaces as well. Not to mention that 90% fo BCS kids live in LASD and their parents' home values are at stake. A house in the Mtn View Whisman elementary district of similar size and lot dimensions will sell for 1/3 to 1/2 LESS than in Los Altos. This has nothing to do w/the quaint village atmosphere, and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that the schools are ranked #1 in the state. Folks, on the east coast, public schools in communities similar to Los Altos (Westport, CT, etc), spend $14K/student/year. Even with the new parcel tax, LASD is spending about $4 K LESS per student per year (as is the charter school) as California has a different, and very punitive, funding mechanism for high net worth communities. The only way to stay competetive both statewide and nationwide is to attempt to fund our schools in a comparable way. The kids in LASD eat outside under trees, have 40 plus kids in music classes in the middle school, and no buses. They are NOT spoiled, and the teachers are not sucking the district dry. Around the country, salaries make up 80% of more of costs, this is a fact. Go to ncs.ed.gov to get the facts on school funding. You will be APPALLED at how little we spend out here relative to the rest of the country. It is emabarrasing given our relative wealth and a disservice to the children.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Whisman Station
on May 6, 2011 at 10:21 am

"A house in the Mtn View Whisman elementary district of similar size and lot dimensions will sell for 1/3 to 1/2 LESS than in Los Altos."

That is simply not true based on my own experience.


Posted by Observer, a resident of another community
on May 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I don't think it's 1/3 and definitely not 1/2, but Los Altos School District homes do sell for more than an apples-to-apples counterpart in MVWSD. For instance, you might pay the around same for a 1800-sq ft 3 bedroom/2 bath in Varsity Park (Springer, LASD) than a 2200-sq ft 4 bedroom/2.5 bath in Waverly Park (Huff, MVWSD).


Posted by Doug Pearson, a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm

This article ends, "The Santa Clara County elections office reported Tuesday night that the vote is 8,977 in favor to 4,354 opposed, with all 16 precincts reporting. An updated tally is due at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 4."

The printed version ends, "The Santa Clara County elections office reported Wednesday afternoon that the vote is 9,187 in favor to 4,509 opposed, with all 16 precincts reporting. An updated tally is due by 5 p.m. Friday, May 6. Check www.mv-voice.com for an updated story."

OK, so where is the updated story?


Posted by Parent of a Cupertino kid, a resident of another community
on May 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Ron - since you keep saying the problem is how LASD mismanaged it's funds I'd be interested in how you would do a better job and how the charter manages. What is Wanny's salary, pension, benefit package, and extras (housing etc)? What are the teachers paid? How often are your classrooms cleaned and do use staff or a professional cleaning service? How do you provide for special needs students, ELL students, poor dtudents? f these are issues that you have problems with at lasd, how is the charter different?


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