Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
MapLight
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
November 5, 2019 — Local Elections
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

Special District

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

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passing

3,269 votes yes (74.4%)

1,125 votes no (25.6%)

To provide critically needed funding to attract and retain high quality teachers and educational support staff, shall the Piedmont Unified School District levy a tax of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements, providing 2.6 million dollars annually in dedicated funding for Piedmont schools for 8 years, 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 provide critically needed funding to attract and retain high quality teachers and educational support staff, shall the Piedmont Unified School District levy a tax of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements, providing 2.6 million dollars annually in dedicated funding for Piedmont schools for 8 years, with independent citizen oversight and all money staying local?

The Situation

The residents of the Piedmont Unified School District (“District”) have supported District parcel taxes for 35 years.  These parcel taxes have been used to maintain the District’s educational programs and staff, and to safeguard against the uncertainties of State funding. The District wishes to guarantee stable and long-term sources of base revenue through an ongoing special tax through June 30, 2028, for the next eight (8) years, which would be used to attract and retain high quality teachers and educational support staff.  An accompanying measure, Measure G, will provide additional funding by extending the current special parcel tax until 2028. Measure H is a second special parcel tax, the amount of which would be based on square footage of building improvements.  The tax, at the uniform rate of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements per year, would be levied on every parcel of taxable real property. “Building Improvements” are defined, in the case of residential structures, as square footage within the perimeter of the habitable structure. In the case of commercial structures, square footage shall be calculated using the enclosed and covered space of the structure.  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. Currently, tax bills do not state the square footage of Building Improvements.  Individual taxpayers can find out their taxable square footage by calling the Alameda County Assessor’s Office, which keeps a record of “Property Characteristics”, including “Building Area” which is the figure the taxing authority will use to assess the tax.

The Proposal

If adopted by the voters, Measure H would authorize the District to impose a special parcel tax with a rate of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements per year, to be levied against each taxable parcel of land located wholly or partially within the boundaries of the District. The Special Tax would have a term of eight (8) years, commencing on July 1, 2020, and ending on June 30, 2028, to be collected by the Alameda County Tax Collector, as applicable based on parcel location, at the same time, in the same manner, and subject to the same penalties as general property taxes collected by said tax collector. Measure H does not include an inflation growth rate.

The purpose of Measure H is to continue the tradition of support in a measure that will provide the District and its taxpayers both stability and predictability in base parcel tax support.

This Measure will provide additional local revenue that cannot be taken by the State. If approved, the District will use the revenue for the specific purpose of attracting and retaining teachers and education support staff. The monies collected shall be accounted for separately and expended only for that specified purpose.

The Board of Education will fund the programs and purposes provided for in Measure H 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. As with Measure G, Measure H 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 Special Tax Advisory Subcommittee (“Subcommittee”) of the District’s Budget Advisory Committee would be established, which would be comprised of homeowners in the District who are subject to the special parcel tax and are not employed by the District.   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 H will provide $2.6 million annually in dedicated funding for Piedmont Schools.  A “YES” vote on Measure H would be a vote to approve the special parcel tax as described above, effective as of July 1, 2020.

A “NO” vote on Measure H would be a vote against the special parcel tax.  If two-thirds of qualified electors voting on the measure do not vote for approval, it will fail, and the District will not be authorized to collect this special parcel tax.  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.

 

 

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. Even for those who don’t have kids in schools, these measures are essential for preserving property values. For anyone who owns a home in Piedmont, this is one of our greatest investments. People move here for the schools.

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

*Since 1985, Piedmont voters have overwhelmingly renewed 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.

*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 H. 

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 the square footage of building improvements on each Assessed Parcel Number (“APN”).

NO vote means

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this Measure do not vote for approval, it will fail, and the District will not be authorized to levy the special parcel tax.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Alameda County Counsel

COUNTY COUNSEL'S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE H

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

Measure H ("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 of $0.25 (twenty-five cents) per square foot of building improvements. The tax would last for eight years, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2028.

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 purpose of attracting and retaining teachers and education support staff, as set forth in the full text of the Measure printed in this sample ballot. The monies collected shall be accounted for separately and expended only for that specified purpose.

The special parcel tax shall be assessed at a maximum rate of $0.25 (twenty-five cents) per square foot of building improvements on each 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. Building improvements are defined as square footage within the perimeter of the habitable structure for residential structures. For commercial structures, the square footage is calculated by using the enclosed and covered space of the structure.

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 a Special Tax 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 District will not be authorized to levy the special parcel tax.

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 H

Our Piedmont schools are among the best in California, but inadequate state funding coupled with the high cost of living in the Bay Area makes retaining and recruiting quality teachers and educational staff difficult. It is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit teachers especially for important subjects like math and science.

Measure H will allow Piedmont schools to attract and retain high quality teachers and educational staff. Without Measure H, Piedmont will continue to lose quality teachers, counselors, and educational staff who decide either to leave the profession or go to other school districts.

Measure H will raise $2.6 million annually for eight years. Every penny will stay in Piedmont to support our schools and improve the quality of education.

Passage of Measure G and Measure H is important.

Measure G provides basic local funding for academic programs. Measure G will maintain current (30-year-old) parcel tax funding that is set to expire. It will not change the basic tax Piedmont homeowners already pay. Its passage is essential to maintain basic programs

Measure H provides supplemental funds to attract and retain teachers and academic staff.

While many Piedmont residents no longer have children in the schools, the quality of our schools helps maintain property values and attracts young families to our community.

As a community we value education and have supported local funding to the schools for over three decades. Passage of both Measures G and H is essential to maintain the quality of our schools.

Whether you have children in the schools or not, Measure H is a sound investment in our community.

Quality teachers are essential to a quality education. 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 as Measure “H”.

To provide critically needed funding to attract and retain high quality teachers and educational support staff, shall the Piedmont Unified School District levy a tax of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements, providing 2.6 million dollars annually in dedicated funding for Piedmont schools for 8 years, 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 “H” is to continue the tradition of support in a measure with an eight (8) year term, which will provide the District and its taxpayers both stability and predictability in base parcel tax support.

This Measure will provide additional local revenue that cannot be taken by the State and will maintain Piedmont’s excellent quality of public education by attracting and retaining high quality teachers and educational support staff.

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 Special Tax would be in effect, beginning July 1, 2020, at the rate shown below on the building improvements of 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) Special Tax Advisory Subcommittee: An annual written report shall be prepared and submitted to the Board of Education by the Special Tax 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 Special 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 Special 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 the square footage of building improvements on each Assessed Parcel Number (“APN”). The tax shall be collected by 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 tax, at the uniform rate of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements per year, shall be levied on every parcel of taxable real property. Building Improvements shall be defined, in the case of residential structures, as square footage within the perimeter of the habitable structure. In the case of commercial structures, square footage shall be calculated using the enclosed and covered space of the structure.

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.

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. If, in any given year, the Board elects to levy an amount less than the maximum allowable rate, it may, in subsequent years, levy the maximum allowable rate.

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. It is hereby declared to be the intention of the electorate that this Measure would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal, or invalid sentence, clause section or part thereto, not been included.

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.

More information

Use tabs to select your choice. Use return to create a choice. You can access your choices by navigating to 'My Choices'.

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.

PUBLISHING:PRODUCTION SERVER:PRODUCTION