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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Special District

Portola Valley School District
Measure P - 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

Failing

1,285 votes yes (63.46%)

740 votes no (36.54%)

2,095 ballots counted

To maintain excellent local schools, shall Portola Valley School District protect enhanced science, math, reading/writing instruction, retain qualified/experienced teachers, support music and arts programs, limit class size increases, and maintain foreign language classes by renewing the current $581 per parcel tax, with 3% annual increases, raising at least $1,200,000 annually, for 8 years, with senior exemptions, annual audits, independent citizen oversight, no money for administrator salaries, no funds for Sacramento, and all funds supporting Portola Valley School District students?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

The California Constitution and state law authorize school districts to levy qualified special taxes for specified purposes. Government Code Sections 50077 and 50079 provide that such a tax measure passes if two-thirds of those voting on it vote to approve the measure.

The Portola Valley School District (the “District”) currently has an annual parcel tax of $581 per parcel adopted in 2013 that will expire June 30, 2021. By this Measure, the District’s Board of Trustees proposes to renew and increase a special tax on parcels in the District that would raise funds to support various educational purposes outlined below. If this Measure is approved, an annual tax of $581 per parcel, adjusted annually for inflation, would be imposed starting on July 1, 2021,for a period of eight years, with the tax ending on June 30, 2029.

The proposed tax applies to any unit of real property which lies wholly or partially in the District that receives a separate property tax bill from the San Mateo County tax collection officials. Any individual who owns and occupies a parcel as a principal residence may apply for an exemption to the tax if they also: (1) are age 65 years or older; (2) receive Supplemental Security Income for a disability regardless of age; or (3) receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, and have an annual income not exceeding 250% of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines. Parcels that already obtained exemption from the expiring tax are automatically exempt from this tax.

The stated purposes of the parcel tax are to: maintain enhanced science, math, reading, and writing instruction; retain qualified and experienced teachers; support music and arts programs; limit class size increases; maintain foreign language classes; fund classroom computers, instructional technology, and instructional and technology staff; extend programs in engineering and technology, and other innovative programs to enhance student learning; and maintain library services and physical education teachers. No proceeds may be spent on administrator’s salaries, benefits, or pensions.

The proceeds of the parcel tax will be placed into a special account. An annual report accounting for parcel tax revenues collected and expended and the status of projects orprograms funded by the tax will be filed with the Board of Trustees. An independent citizen’s oversight committee will be appointed to review the expenditures of the parcel tax. The tax will be decreased if any increase in local, state, or federal funding is put in jeopardy based on the existence of the tax. The District’s appropriations limit shall be increased annually if necessary to ensure the revenue from the tax may be spent for the listed purposes.

A “yes” vote on this measure would impose an annual tax of $581 per taxable parcel, adjusted annually, on property within the District for a period of eight years beginning July 1, 2021, for the purposes listed above.

A “no” vote on this measure would not allow the parcel tax to be levied, with the existing annual parcel tax of $581 per parcel expiring without replacement on June 30, 2021.

This measure passes if two-thirds of those voting on the measure vote “yes”.

 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Vote Yes on P to keep highly qualified teachers and outstanding academic programs in Portola Valley School District by renewing local funding that is set to expire.

We value our high quality teachers who provide an excellent education to Portola Valley and Woodside students in the Portola Valley School District. By voting YES on Measure P, we can renew expiring funding that today funds 17% of our teachers and will ensure we can continue attracting the very best. Without this funding, our schools face significant cuts.

Your YES vote will help our schools continue to retain high quality teachers, protect strong academic programs, and limit increases in class sizes. Measure P will maintain a high level of reading, writing, math, and science instruction and help teachers provide the individualized attention students need to excel.

Independent audits have shown that the District has used existing funds as promised. We have confidence that every penny from Measure P will be spent appropriately.

Our District has already tightened its belt. We need Measure P to prevent further cuts and protect the quality of education in our schools.

Vote Yes on P for Local Students:

* Maintain enhanced science, math, reading, and writing instruction

* Retain qualified and experienced teachers

* Support art and music programs

* Limit class size increases

* Maintain foreign language classes

All Measure P Funds Stay Local

All funds will stay local to support Ormondale and Corte Madera Schools

* No funds can be taken away by the State

* No funds can support administrator salaries

* Independent citizen oversight will continue to be required

* Seniors will continue to be eligible for an exemption

Even if you don't have school-aged children, please vote YES on P - our schools make this a wonderful place to live and protect strong property values.

Join Portola Valley and Woodside community leaders, parents, teachers, seniors, and business leaders in voting YES on P.

 

/s/ Tom Fogarty, Jr, Local business Owner

/s/ Kwok Lau, Former Alpine Hills Board Chair

/s/ Anne Fazioli-Khiari, Woodside Parent

/s/ Sue Crane, Former Portola Valley Mayor

/s/ Josh Moser, Citizens Oversight Committee Member

 

Arguments AGAINST

With this latest "temporary" parcel tax, the Portola Valley School District claims they need a tax increase to continue providing "quality education."

The district not only wants to extend the 2013 "temporary" parcel tax ($581) for another 8 years but they want to add 3% each year for the next 8 years.

Have they earned this extension that will cost you over $6,660 over the next 8 years (on top of the taxes you are already paying)?

Let's look at the latest academic performance:

2017-18 School Year results: 16.16% below grade level for English

2017-18 School Year results: 15.44% below grade for Math

The District rewarded students, parents, and taxpayers for the passage of the 2013 parcel tax by dropping proficiency in both English and math!

Source: California Department of Education Data Partnership - www.ed-data.org

It's clear to see why student enrollment is declining.

Should you, the voters, reward the district for dropping scores in both subjects?

If no, we encourage you to vote NO on Measure P.

The District is already spending $27,000 per student per year which is 224% ABOVE the statewide average ($12,082) yet providing average education. Yet they want more of your hard-earned money to pad their salaries (averaging $101,829 plus up to $24,000 in benefits) and fat pension plans. 

This measure says that none of the funds will be used for administration. But funds generated separately from this parcel tax may be used for administration expenses without limits. So that really is an empty promise.  Do not be fooled.

Tell the Portola Valley School Board to be fiscally responsible by voting NO on Measure P.

If you reward failure, you will get more failure.

For more information, please visit us at www.svtaxpayers.org

 

/s/ Mark W.A. Hinkle, President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

Replies to Arguments FOR

With this latest "temporary" parcel tax, the Portola Valley School District claims they need a tax increase to continue providing "quality education."

The district not only wants to extend the 2013 "temporary" parcel tax ($581) for another 8 years but they want to add 3% each year for the next 8 years.

Have they earned this extension that will cost you over $6,660 over the next 8 years (on top of the taxes you are already paying)?

Let's look at the latest academic performance:

2017-18 School Year results: 16.16% below grade level for English

2017-18 School Year results: 15.44% below grade for Math

The District rewarded students, parents, and taxpayers for the passage of the 2013 parcel tax by dropping proficiency in both English and math!

Source: California Department of Education Data Partnership - www.ed-data.org

It's clear to see why student enrollment is declining.

Should you, the voters, reward the district for dropping scores in both subjects?

If no, we encourage you to vote NO on Measure P.

The District is already spending $27,000 per student per year which is 224% ABOVE the statewide average ($12,082) yet providing average education. Yet they want more of your hard-earned money to pad their salaries (averaging $101,829 plus up to $24,000 in benefits) and fat pension plans. 

This measure says that none of the funds will be used for administration. But funds generated separately from this parcel tax may be used for administration expenses without limits. So that really is an empty promise.  Do not be fooled.

Tell the Portola Valley School Board to be fiscally responsible by voting NO on Measure P.

If you reward failure, you will get more failure.

For more information, please visit us at www.svtaxpayers.org

 

/s/ Mark W.A. Hinkle, President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Don't let the lone opponent mislead you. He has his facts wrong and he doesn't even live in our community or know our schools!

Here is the truth:

* Portola Valley School District test scores are above state standards and exceed benchmarks for excellence. Go to CASchoolDashboard.org to read the report. Families move to our community because of our outstanding schools.

* Measure P prohibits funds from going toward administrator salaries, benefits, or pensions. This is clearly outlined in the measure which you can read at www.pvsd.net/parceltax

* Measure P simply renews the existing rate we have been paying since 2013 and includes a modest 3% increase to account for cost of living increases.

* Portola Valley and Woodside are among the most expensive places to live in the Bay Area. We must remain competitive in order to keep qualified and experienced teachers in our classrooms as quality teachers are at the heart of a high quality education.

* Annual audits and independent citizen oversight have verified that all funds from our current measure have been used as promised. Read the report here: www.pvsd.net/parceltax

* Measure P has a direct impact on Portola Valley and Woodside students. Without renewal, our schools will lose funding that supports 17% of our teachers.

* Seniors will continue to be eligible for an exemption.

As longtime community leaders in Portola Valley and Woodside, we know that Measure P is necessary.

We are proud to live in a community that supports its schools and provides children with an outstanding education. Join us in voting YS on P to protect Portola Valley schools.

 

/s/ William Urban, Member, Town of Portola Valley Finance Committee

/s/ Terri Kerwin, Local Realtor

/s/ Ron Raimes, Local Business Owner

/s/ William Leckonby, 31 Year Portola Valley Resident

/s/ Wanda W. Ginner, CPA  

 

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