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Publication Date: Friday, May 02, 2003

School staffers ante up to pass tax School staffers ante up to pass tax (May 02, 2003)

Trustees, administrators pitch into Measure E campaign

By Julie O'Shea

Mountain View-Whisman School District parents, teachers and administrators have forked over tens of thousands of dollars in their campaign to pass a $2.5 million parcel tax at the polls next month.

The Mountain View-Whisman Committee for Measure E has raised $35,460 as of April 19, with Superintendent Jim Negri leading the pack with a $1,500 contribution.

"I believe in this, and I thought I should set an example," Negri said. "You know the old saying, 'put your money were your mouth is.'"

The parcel tax -- a 5-cent-per-square-foot fee on all buildings in the city -- needs a two-thirds vote to pass at the polls June 3. It will cost the average homeowner $70 a year and residents 65 and over can apply for an exemption. The average business would pay about $370 a year.

The Measure E committee has spent $10,491 on its campaign as of April 19, according to finance disclosure forms filed with the Santa Clara County Elections Office.

The bulk of the money has gone toward campaign consultant fees and a citywide mailer.

The group paid $5,000 to Oakland-based consulting firm Tramutola and spent $5,099 on its campaign literature and mailings, according to election documents.

Negri said the tax is needed to prevent a rash of teacher layoffs and to save school programs and services; Gov. Gray Davis' proposed budget cuts could leave the elementary school district $1.3 million in the red.

Schools trustee Rose Filicetti and board President Carol Fisher each gave more than $1,000 to the campaign. Associate Superintendent Eleanor Yick added another $1,000 to the Measure E war chest. And State Assembly member Sally Lieber donated $100. Several district principals and teachers also wrote checks for $100 or more.

For Huff Elementary Principal Craig Goldman, who contributed $100, giving to the Measure E campaign means putting money toward students and services.

"I fully support the intent behind this parcel tax," said Goldman, who was one of the ice cream scoopers at this week's "Scoop for Measure E" fundraiser at Baskin Robbins.

The school district is facing some stiff competition from some businesses that are calling the tax unfair. Bigger firms like Hewlett Packard and ALZA would have to pay in excess of $50,000 a year if the measure passes. And the Tri-County Apartment Association, an influential landlord advocacy group, has strongly opposed the tax.

But if the measure doesn't pass next month, the impacts could be devastating to the district, Goldman said.

"I wish there were just one thing. Unfortunately, it's widespread," the Huff principal said.

Goldman said the schools' art and music programs and small class sizes are just a few of things that could face elimination if the tax measure doesn't pass. Schools' libraries and physical education programs could also suffer major cuts backs, he added.

Sherri Nichols, the Measure E campaign co-chair, donated $1,250 to the effort, and said there is tremendous community support for the tax.

E-mail Julie O'Shea at

School donors

A number of school trustees, administrators and teachers have given their own money to the Measure E campaign. They include:
Superintendent Jim Negri: $1,500
Robin Jaquith, principal: $100
Lora Lee Henderson, teacher: $150
Sharon Burns, teacher: $100
Kathy Hawes, teacher: $250
Gloria Higgins, board member: $330
Craig Goldman, principal: $100
Ellen Wheeler, board member: $100
Linda and Ronald White, library secretary: $100
David and Linda Williams, high school board member and teacher: $250
Rebecca Wright, chief finance officer: $150
Eleanor Yick, associate superintendent: $1,000
Nicki Smith, principal: $110
Karen Robinson, principal: $100
Rose Filicetti, board member: $1,150
Carol Fisher, board president: $1,040
Judy Crates, principal: $150
Kathleen Bransfield and Henry Chen, teacher: $850
Modrite Archibeque, assistant superintendent: $100


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