Editorial endorsement: Yes on Measure GG

Los Altos School District's parcel tax would benefit all students, including Bullis Charter School

Shore up funding for local schools and help warm up frosty relations between the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School? That's the question facing voters, who are asked to approve a $223 parcel tax that will go toward funding core school services in the school district, which encompasses a portion of Mountain View.

If Measure GG passes, for the first time a proportionate amount of LASD's parcel tax funds will go toward Bullis Charter School, something that could go a long way toward healing divisions between the charter school and district.

It replaces Measure E, a $193 parcel tax that expires next June. Measure GG's $30 higher rate reflects the addition of funding for Bullis Charter School. Measure E raises about $2.5 million annually, which goes toward teacher salaries, academic programs, and science and technology initiatives. Measure GG, which expires in eight years, is expected to raise $2.8 million annually, $300,000 of which will go to Bullis.

LASD relies on parcel taxes for about 17 percent of its budget, thanks to the state's convoluted education-funding formulas and the relatively limited amount of commercial property tax revenue generated in Los Altos. Besides the soon-to-expire Measure E, district homeowners also pay $597 a year for a permanent parcel tax.

A cynic might say that including Bullis in Measure GG was a calculated move designed to boost voter support above the difficult-to attain threshold needed for parcel taxes. Without a two-thirds majority voting yes, the measure fails. The district's polling data shows it could be a very close vote.

An optimist would say that it's a refreshing sign of collaboration after years of friction that occasionally devolved into messy and expensive legal battles between the school district and the charter school.

We choose to be optimistic, and believe that the passage of Measure GG will go a long way toward reminding the community that the focus should be on providing the best possible public education for all of the district's students, rather than on turf battles between the adults.

The Los Altos District draws about 27 percent of its students from Mountain View, mostly in the San Antonio Road area. With so much housing development in the pipeline, the district's percentage of Mountain View students will almost certainly rise in the coming years. It's less likely that state funding will keep up, making parcel tax revenue even more vital to the high-performing school district.

The Voice recommends a yes vote on Measure GG.

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7 people like this
Posted by OntheWrongSideoftheTracks
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 27, 2016 at 6:28 pm

My only concern is the extremely loose "rules" which LASD proposes to inflict on Bullis Charter in order to receive their share of the funding, which are largely up to interpretation and can easily be manipulated so that LASD can pocket this money instead.

I'd LOVE to see this as bridge building but until the air of hierarchy is left out of the full wording of the bond, I remain skeptical and unsure how to vote.

9 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:23 pm

These election year editorials and endorsements really need to come out a month earlier.

I've voted a week ago (permanent mail-in voter).

My election involvement now is essentially dumping all the flyers from my mailbox into the recycling bin.

Whatever various people are telling me how to vote is too late.

3 people like this
Posted by good use of unfair tax
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 28, 2016 at 9:21 am

I think that the institution of the LASD has learned that it is best to negotiate and not litigate. Hopefully the new Board will continue in this spirit - and not pull any fast-ones on the Charter School in their midst.

- The basic Flat Structure Tax that is being voted on is patently unfair and highly regressive.

All properties, no mater what their parcel size or building size PAY THE EXACT SAME TAX. The smallest owner-occupied starter condo, pays EXACTLY THE SAME TAX BILL as the largest mansion in the hills. If this FLAT STRUCTURE TAX fails in this election, as the City Bond did, as the Menlo Park school parcel tax did earlier this year:

The school board may try again with a PER-SQUARE-FOOT tax that distributes tax payments more in alignment with the property / parcel size and wealth in the school district.

signed Steven Nelson (yes Voice) "good use of unfair tax" is a pseudonym, SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD and this is just his political opinion!

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Shoreline West

on Jul 31, 2017 at 7:46 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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