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November 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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Special District

Piedmont Unified School District
Measure G Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

3,655 votes yes (82.9%)

755 votes no (17.1%)

To maintain the high quality of education in Piedmont schools, continue funding programs in math, science, technology, engineering, English, music, and arts, keep textbooks and instructional technology up to date, maintain smaller class sizes, and attract and retain qualified teachers, shall the Piedmont Unified School District renew its expiring parcel tax at an annual rate of $2,763 per parcel for 8 years, providing 10.8 million dollars annually, with independent citizen oversight and all money staying local?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by LWV Piedmont https://my.lwv.org/california/piedmont

The Question

To maintain the high quality of education in Piedmont schools, continue funding programs in math, science, technology, engineering, English, music, and arts, keep textbooks and instructional technology up to date, maintain smaller class sizes, and attract and retain qualified teachers, shall the Piedmont Unified School District renew its expiring parcel tax at an annual rate of $2,763 per parcel for 8 years, providing 10.8 million dollars annually, with independent citizen oversight and all money staying local?

The Situation

Voters previously approved Measure A, a special parcel tax with a maximum rate of $2,406 per parcel.  That measure will expire on June 30, 2021.  Measure G, a Piedmont Unified School District ("District") special parcel tax measure, would authorize the District to replace and extend this parcel tax with a new special parcel tax with a maximum initial rate of $2,763 per parcel, which would be in effect from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2028.   A companion measure, Measure H, is also on the ballot, which is discussed in a separate “Pros & Cons.”  Measure H is a second parcel tax, the amount of which would be based on square footage of building improvements, whereas Measure G is a “flat tax” which is assessed per assessor’s parcel.  Both Measure G and H seek funding for the District.  Voters can vote for or against one or both Measure G and Measure H.

The Proposal

If adopted by the voters, Measure G would authorize the District to impose a special parcel tax at a maximum initial rate of $2,763 per parcel, subject to annual increases of up to 2%, for purposes of supporting District programs for students in Piedmont schools.  The funds could be used for a range of educational offerings for students.  The proposed legislation states that the purpose of Measure G is to continue the tradition of financial support for District programs for students in Piedmont schools. The measure, with a new eight (8) year term, intends to provide the District and its taxpayers both stability and predictability in base parcel tax support. The proposed parcel tax will replace the local funding approved by the voters of the District on March 5, 2013, as Measure A, which will otherwise expire as of July 1, 2021.  This Measure will provide continuing local revenue that cannot be taken by the State and will fund programs in math, science, technology, engineering, English, music, and arts, keep textbooks and instructional technology up to date, maintain smaller class sizes, and attract and retain qualified teachers (“Measure G Programs”).  As part of the annual budget process, the District's Board of Education will determine the amount of the levy for the following fiscal year up to the maximum allowable rate. On an annual basis, the Board may increase the maximum allowable amount by up to 2% from the previous year. The Board will fund all of the Measure G programs and purposes unless it determines in any given year that changes in student population, fiscal constraints, or other changes in State or Federal funding make doing so infeasible or inadvisable. In any event, the Board of Education will not fund any program, purpose, or reduction, other than the Measure G Programs from the proceeds of the special taxes.  The Measure includes various accountability measures, to ensure that the funds are used in accordance with the specific purposes of the special tax.  The Measure requires the creation of a separate, special account into which the proceeds of the special taxes must be deposited.  An annual written report is required, which would be made to the Board of Education of the District showing: (i) the amount of funds collected and expended from the proceeds of the special taxes; and (ii) the status of any projects or programs required or authorized to be funded from the proceeds of the special taxes; and (iii) recommendation to the Board of Education as to the levy amount for the subsequent year’s tax.  A Measure G Advisory Subcommittee of the District’s Budget Advisory Committee would be established.  Certain classes of property owners would be exempt from the tax, including homeowners qualified to receive SSI, property used for religious purposes, certain public utility property, and state, county and City of Piedmont-owned property.

Fiscal effect

Measure G will provide $10.8 million in annual funding for Piedmont schools, which represents 25% of the District budget.  A “YES” vote on Measure G would be a vote to approve the special parcel tax as described above, effective as of July 1, 2020. A “NO” vote on Measure G would be a vote against the special parcel tax.  If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting in this election do not vote for approval, it will fail, and the previously-approved special parcel tax will continue only through June 30, 2021.  

Supporters say

*For more than 30 years, the Piedmont schools have depended on community support to maintain an excellent educational program for Piedmont’s children. Our schools are ranked among the best in the region and the state. Exceptional teachers, small class sizes, and high-quality courses in math, science, technology, English, performing/visual arts, and world languages prepare Piedmont students for success in college and 21st century careers.

*Measure G renews the existing parcel tax set to expire. It provides $10.8 million in annual funding for Piedmont schools, which represents 25% of the school district budget. Measure G will protect the quality of education in Piedmont schools by renewing the local funding our schools depend on to keep class sizes small and provide high quality academic programs.

*If the existing parcel tax were allowed to expire, up to 100 teacher positions would need to be eliminated, academic programs would be cut, school libraries closed, and class sizes increased by 40%.

*By law, every penny from Measure G will stay in Piedmont to benefit our schools and cannot be taken away by the state.

*Since 1985, Piedmont voters have overwhelmingly renewed this local support for our schools eight consecutive times. Over 76% of Piedmont voters supported the last renewal, providing stable, locally controlled funding that cannot be taken away by the state or used for other purposes.

*Measure H is a companion measure, which also deserves your support. Measure H provides supplemental funding to help recruit and retain quality staff.

*Measures G and H are wise investments to protect local property values.

 

Signers of official arguments/rebuttals

Laura Katter, President, Piedmont High School Parents’ Club

Ken Taylor, Havens Elementary School Teacher

Sue Smegal, Former President, Piedmont Board of Education

Robert McBain, Mayor, City of Piedmont

Chris Kwei, Local Business Owner

 

Opponents say

No official opposition has been filed to Measure G.

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

Subject to two-thirds approval of the voters, the qualified special tax shall become effective as of July 1, 2020, and levied against each Assessed Parcel Number ("APN") by the Alameda County Tax Collector at the same time, and in the same manner, and subject to the same penalties, as general ad valorem property taxes collected by said tax collector.

NO vote means

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this Measure do not vote for approval, it will fail, and the previously-approved special parcel tax will continue through June 30, 2021.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Alameda County Counsel

COUNTY COUNSEL'S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE G

ANALYSIS BY THE COUNTY COUNSEL FOR THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA OF A PIEDMONT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT SPECIAL PARCEL TAX MEASURE

Measure G ("Measure"), a Piedmont Unified School District ("District") special parcel tax measure, seeks voter approval to authorize the District to levy an annual special parcel tax with the maximum rate of $2,763 per parcel. The tax would last for eight years, beginning July 1, 2020. The District's voters previously authorized Measure A, a special parcel tax with a maximum rate of $2,406 per parcel, which will expire on June 30, 2021. If approved, this Measure will replace Measure A and extend the special parcel tax through June 30, 2028 with the new maximum rate.

A school district has the authority to levy special taxes upon approval by two-thirds of the votes cast on the special tax proposal. (See Cal. Const. Art. XIII A,§ 4; Art. XIII C, §2; Cal. Gov't Code§§ 50075-50077, 50079, & 53722.)

If approved, the District will use the revenue for the specific purposes set forth in the full text of the Measure printed in this sample ballot. Those purposes include, but are not limited to: attracting and retaining teachers; maintaining textbooks and instructional technology up-to-date; and funding math, science, technology, music, and arts programs. The monies collected shall be accounted for separately and expended only for those specified purposes.

The special parcel tax shall be assessed at a maximum rate of $2,763.00 per taxable parcel that has an Assessed Parcel Number. As part of the annual budget process, the District's Board of Education ("Board") will determine the amount of the levy for the following fiscal year up to the maximum allowable rate. On an annual basis, the Board may increase the maximum allowable amount by up to 2% from the previous year.

The accountability measures of California Government Code sections 50075.1 and 50075.3 shall apply to this special parcel tax. The Measure also provides for an Advisory Subcommittee of the Budget Advisory Committee that will prepare and submit an annual written report to the Board.

The Alameda County Treasurer-Tax Collector will collect the tax at the same time and in the same manner as ad valorem property taxes are collected. Homeowners who are residing on their property and qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be exempt. Individuals seeking such an exemption must apply to the District on or before July 1 of each tax year.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this Measure do not vote for approval, it will fail, and the previously-approved special parcel tax will continue through June 30, 2021.

This Measure is placed on the ballot by the governing board of the District.

DONNA R. ZIEGLER

County Counsel

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Argument in Favor of Measure G

For more than 30 years, the Piedmont schools have depended on community support to maintain an excellent educational program for Piedmont’s children. Our schools are ranked among the best in the region and the state. Exceptional teachers, small class sizes and high quality courses in math, science, technology, English, performing/visual arts and world languages prepare Piedmont students for success in college and 21st century careers.

Measure G renews the existing parcel tax set to expire. It provides $10.8 million in annual funding for Piedmont schools, which represents 25% of the school district budget. Measure G will protect the quality of education in Piedmont schools by renewing the local funding our schools depend on to keep class sizes small and provide high quality academic programs.

Since 1985, Piedmont voters have overwhelmingly renewed this local support for our schools eight consecutive times. Over 76% of Piedmont voters supported the last renewal, providing stable, locally controlled funding that cannot be taken away by the state or used for other purposes.

If Measure G were to expire, up to 100 teacher positions would need to be eliminated, academic programs will be cut, school libraries closed, and class sizes increased by 40%.

By law, every penny from Measure G will stay in Piedmont to benefit our schools and cannot be taken away by the state.

Measure H is a companion measure, which also deserves your support. Measure H provides supplemental funding to help recruit and retain quality staff.

Whether you have children in the schools or not, Measures G and H are wise investments to protect local property values.

Please help us preserve quality schools in Piedmont. Please votes YES for Measures G and H.

Laura Katter, President, Piedmont High School Parents’ Club

Ken Taylor, Havens Elementary School Teacher

Sue Smegal, Former President, Piedmont Board of Education

Robert McBain, Mayor, City of Piedmont

Chris Kwei, Local Business Owner

— Alameda County Registrar of Voters (510) 272-6960

Arguments AGAINST

None submitted.

— Alameda County Registrar of Voters (510) 272-6960

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

This Measure may be known and referred to as Measure “G”.

To maintain the high quality of education in Piedmont schools, continue funding programs in math, science, technology, engineering, English, music, and arts, keep textbooks and instructional technology up to date, maintain smaller class sizes, and attract and retain qualified teachers, shall the Piedmont Unified School District renew its expiring parcel tax at an annual rate of $2,763 per parcel for 8 years, providing 10.8 million dollars annually, with independent citizen oversight and all money staying local?

PURPOSE

For over a generation, the residents of the District have approved parcel taxes to support District programs for the students in Piedmont schools. Parcel taxes have allowed the District to establish and maintain a full range of educational offerings for students, including visual arts, performing arts and music, as well as comprehensive programs in math, science and technology. The depth and range of these programs have supported student achievement and preparation for success after graduation. Student achievement scores rank among the best in the State and students are admitted to, and successful at, excellent colleges and universities. Parcel taxes have proven crucial to the District’s financial health, currently providing over a third of total District revenues.

The purpose of this Measure “G” is to continue the tradition of support in a measure with a new eight (8) year term, which will provide the District and its taxpayers both stability and predictability in base parcel tax support. The proposed parcel tax will replace the local funding approved by the voters of the District on March 5, 2013, as Measure “A”, which will otherwise expire as of July 1, 2021.

This Measure will prevent existing school funding from expiring by continuing to provide local revenue that cannot be taken by the State and will maintain Piedmont’s excellent quality of public education by funding programs in math, science, technology, engineering, English, music, and arts, keep textbooks and instructional technology up to date, maintain smaller class sizes, and attract and retain qualified teachers.

The Board of Education will fund all of the programs and purposes listed above unless it determines in any given year that changes in student population, fiscal constraints, or other changes in State or Federal funding make doing so infeasible or inadvisable. In any event, the Board of Education will not fund any program, purpose, or reduction, other than those listed above, from the proceeds of the special taxes.

The Measure “G” would be in effect, beginning July 1, 2020, at the rate shown below on each assessor’s parcel located wholly or partially within the boundaries of the Piedmont Unified School District, and end on June 30, 2028.

ACCOUNTABILITY PROCEDURES

(a)    Annual Tax Hearing: The Board of Education will administer this continuing tax with the financial rectitude and community participation it has demonstrated in the past. Each year, as part of the annual budget adoption process, the Board will first determine the total amount of expenditures necessary to provide a superior educational program, including the specialized services and programs detailed above, and deduct therefrom the projected revenue to be gathered from sources other than this special tax.

(b)   Determination of Levy: The difference, if any, between the cost of the programs and funding from other sources shall be the maximum amount of funds to be derived from the tax authorized by this Measure for such year. If the necessary funds are such that the maximum rates set forth below are not needed, then the Board of Education shall reduce these rates proportionately so that only the necessary amount of funds are raised.

(c)    Notice of Tax Hearing: Prior to the levying of the special tax in any given year, the Board of Education will conduct a public hearing on the matter. Notice of the time, date, and place of hearing shall be published pursuant to Government Code section 6061 at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the District and at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing. Following the public hearing each year, the Board of Education shall adopt a resolution establishing the amount of tax to be raised for that year and the rate per parcel, which shall not exceed the amounts enumerated below. Any tax levied shall become a lien upon the properties against which taxes are assessed and collectible as herein provided.

(d)   Statutory Requirements: In accordance with the requirements of California Government Code sections 50075.1 and 50075.3, the following accountability measures, among others, shall apply to the special taxes levied in accordance with this Measure: (a) the specific purposes of the special tax shall be those purposes identified above; (b) the proceeds of the special tax shall be applied only to those specific purposes identified above; (c) a separate, special account shall be created into which the proceeds of the special taxes must be deposited; and (d) an annual written report shall be made to the Board of Education of the District showing: (i) the amount of funds collected and expended from the proceeds of the special taxes; and (ii) the status of any projects or programs required or authorized to be funded from the proceeds of the special taxes, as identified above; and (iii) recommendation to the Board of Education as to the levy amount for the subsequent year’s tax.

(e)   Measure “G” Advisory Subcommittee: An annual written report shall be prepared and submitted to the Board of Education by the Measure “G” Advisory Subcommittee (“Subcommittee”) of the Budget Advisory Committee (“BAC”). All residents of the Piedmont Unified School District are eligible to apply for membership on the BAC on an annual basis. Members of the Subcommittee must be homeowners in the Piedmont Unified School District community and subject to the Measure “G” tax and not current employees of PUSD. Each year there shall be no fewer than three (3) and no more than five (5) volunteers identified by November of each year to serve on the Subcommittee. It is the responsibility of the District Superintendent or designee to verify eligibility of the volunteers. The President and Vice President of the Board of Education shall approve all nominees to the Subcommittee. The Subcommittee shall work directly with the Chief Financial Officer of the District to review Measure “G” tax uses and report to the Board of Education at the first public hearing held each year to determine the subsequent year’s levy. Members of the Subcommittee commit to regularly attend meetings of the BAC. The Board will adopt the specific charge of the Subcommittee no later than May 8, 2020, after two public hearings at Regular School Board meetings. Any change to the charge of the Subcommittee will require public hearings at Regular Board meetings and must be approved by the Board.

ADMINISTRATION OF TAX

(a)    Manner of Tax: Subject to two-thirds approval of the voters, the qualified special tax shall become effective as of July 1, 2020, and levied against each Assessed Parcel Number ("APN") by the Alameda County Tax Collector at the same time, and in the same manner, and subject to the same penalties, as general ad valorem property taxes collected by said tax collector. The tax and penalty shall bear interest at the same rate as the rate for unpaid ad valorem property taxes until paid.

(b)   Tax Issues: With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the Alameda County Tax Assessor or other appropriate County tax official shall make all final determinations of tax exemption or relief for any reason, and that decision shall be final and binding. With respect to matters specific to the levy of the special tax, the decisions of the District shall be final and binding. The procedures described herein, and any additional procedures established by the Board of Education, shall be the exclusive claims procedure for claimants seeking an exemption, refund, reduction, or re-computation of the special tax. The District, in coordination with the County, shall determine whether it will be the District or the County who shall determine the issue.

(c)    Supplemental Regulations: The Board of Education may adopt such additional or supplemental procedures as it deems necessary or convenient for the administration of the special tax.

(d)   Parcel Tax Exemptions: The following classes of property or individuals are or may be exempt from the Parcel Tax:

1.       SSI Homeowners: Homeowners who are residing on their property and qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be exempt. This could apply to adults who are blind or otherwise disabled, with limited income and resources, as well as to people 65 years of age and older without disabilities who meet the income limits prescribed by SSI. Individuals seeking such exemption must submit an application to the District, including proof that the individual has been determined to be eligible for SSI by the Social Security Administration, on or before July 1 of each tax year. The District shall provide a list to the Tax Collector on an annual basis, on or before a date established by the Tax Collector of each year, of the parcels which the District has approved for the SSI Exemption, as described herein.

2.       Pursuant to the California Constitution, Article XIII, Section 3 and California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 206, 206.1, and Section 207, property used exclusively for religious purposes shall be exempt from this tax.

3.       To the extent allowed by law, public Utility Property: Property owned by a public utility shall be exempt.

4.       Pursuant to the California Constitution, Article XIII, Section 3 and California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 202(a)(4), property owned by the state, the county of the City of Piedmont shall be exempt from this tax.

RATES

The special tax shall be assessed at the rate of $2,763 per parcel.

For parcels divided by Tax Code Area lines, the payment for the portion of the parcel within the Piedmont Unified School District shall be the same as the above.

ADJUSTMENTS OF RATE

The Board will determine, on an annual basis, the amount of the levy for the following fiscal year, up to the maximum allowable rate shown above. The Board may also increase the maximum allowable amount by up to 2% from the previous year. If, in any given year, the Board elects to levy an amount less that the maximum allowable rate, it may, in subsequent years, levy the maximum allowable rate.

PROTECTION OF FUNDING

Current law forbids any decrease in State or Federal funding to the District because of the District’s adoption of a parcel tax. However, if any such funds are reduced because of the adoption of this parcel tax, then the amount of the special taxes will be reduced annually as necessary in order to restore such State or Federal funding.

SEVERABILITY

The Board hereby declares, and the voters by approving this Measure concur, that every section and part of this Measure has independent value, and the Board and the voters would have adopted each provision herein regardless of every other provision herein. Upon approval of this Measure by the voters, should any part of the Measure or tax rates be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, all remaining parts of the measure or tax rates shall remain in full force and effect to the fullest extent allowed by law.

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