Friday, January 21, 2011

Parcel Taxes Stay and Grow - local examples

School District parcel taxes follow a pattern where once approved, never go away. The revenue becomes locked into the spending structure, usually for salaries and benefits which comprise over 80% of school district budgets. To remove the parcel tax would cause the same outcry as state reductions in revenues. When state revenue is reduced as in the last few years, districts must act to add more parcel tax revenues (instead of controlling expenses). Here are several local examples.

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD)

AUSD placed Measure A on a March 8, 2011 ballot. This seven year parcel tax is designed to raise $12 million per year. It will replace two existing parcel taxes that raise a currently combined $7.3 million per year and expire in 2012. This is a 64% increase in taxes.

The two existing parcel taxes were approved in 2005 for $3.0 million and 2008 for $4.3 million. These taxes provide 11% of AUSD revenue, and would climb to 18% with the new parcel tax. This in spite of a 7% decline in student enrollment since 2008.


Lafayette School District (LAFSD)

LAFSD placed a four year $176 parcel tax on a vote-by-mail May 3, 2011 ballot. This parcel tax is in addition to an existing 2007 Measure J $313 parcel tax, with 3% annual increases. This would be a new total of at least $508.

These residents additionally pay $301 to the Acalanes Union High School District. Their total parcel taxes would then total $809.


Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD)

DJUSD placed an emergency $200 parcel tax on a vote-by-mail May 3, 2011 ballot. This two year parcel tax will be in addition to two existing parcel taxes Measures Q and W for a three parcel tax total of $520. An earlier proposal for an additional $175 tax was designed to generate "...enough revenue to equal the funds raised last spring by the nonprofit Davis Schools Foundation, plus the amount of budget savings realized by reductions agreed to by district employees." More Davis parcel tax history here.

Opposition to the Davis parcel tax has articulated provisions for greater fiscal accountability. Previous opposition to Measure W points out the ever increasing taxes and their amounts.


Los Altos School District (LASD)

LASD has placed a $193 parcel tax on a vote-by-mail May 3, 2011 ballot. This six year parcel tax is in addition to an existing $597 parcel tax for a total of $790. Local comments here and here.


Cupertino Union School District (CUSD)

CUSD has placed a $125 parcel tax on a vote-by-mail May 3, 2011 ballot. This six year parcel tax is in addition to an existing $125 six year parcel tax for a total of $250. Survey analysis is a good read.


Ravenswood City School District (RCSD)

RCSD has placed a $98 parcel tax on a vote-by-mail May 3, 2011 ballot. This seven year parcel tax is in addition to an existing $98 parcel tax for a total of $196. The surprising twist to this measure is that it extends the existing $98 parcel tax for another four years so that both taxes would be in place through 2018. Not only will this election add a new tax, but further extends an existing one.