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San Mateo County, CA November 6, 2001 Election
Measure D
School Tax for Improvement of Academic Programs
Las Lomitas Elementary School District

Special Tax - 2/3 Vote Required

1,864 / 74.1% Yes votes ...... 650 / 25.9% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

"To maintain educational excellence and high academic standards; keep class sizes small; provide salaries which retain and attract the bestteachers available; improve reading and writing skills; provide computer access for all students; offer music, art and foreign language instruction; shall the Las Lomitas School District's Qualified Special Tax be reauthorized at a rate of $196 per year per taxable parcel beginning July 1, 2002, for 6 years, with exemptions for qualifying persons aged 65 or older?"

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote of this measure means:
A two-thirds "yes" vote on Measure D would allow a special tax of up to $196 per year per taxable parcel to be levied on property in the District and would allow the District spending limit to be raised.

A NO vote of this measure means:
A "no" vote on this measure would not allow the special tax to be levied and would not allow the appropriations limit to be raised.

Impartial Analysis
The California Constitution and state law authorize a school district, upon approval of two-thirds of the voting electorate, to levy a qualified special tax for specified purposes.

In 1995, the voters in the Las Lomitas Elementary School District approved a special tax in the amount of $98 which expires on June 30, 2002. By this measure, the Board of Trustees of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District propose to continue and increase the special tax for a period of six years beginning July 1, 2002 and ending June 30, 2008. This tax shall be at a rate not to exceed $196 per year on all taxable parcels in the District.

A parcel shall be defined as any unit of land in the District which now receives a separate tax bill from San Mateo County. Any person 65 years of age or older who owns and occupies a parcel as a principal residence may qualify for an exemption from the special tax. All property which would otherwise be exempt from property taxes will also be exempt from imposition of this special tax.

The purposes of the special tax are to: maintain reduced class sizes; improve staff salaries; provide supplementary assistance for students needing extra academic help; provide computer access to all students: provide science, music, art, and foreign language instruction; and provide supplementary professional training for teachers.

This measure would also increase the District's appropriations limit per fiscal year, in an amount equal to the levy of the special tax for that year, as permitted by Article XIIIB, section 4 of the California Constitution.

A "yes" vote on this measure would allow a special tax to be levied on property within the boundaries of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District in an amount of up to $196 per year per taxable parcels in the District. It would also allow the appropriations (spending) limit to be raised.

A "no" vote on this measure would not allow the special tax to be levied and would not allow the appropriations limit to be raised.

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

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Arguments For Measure D Arguments Against Measure D
Las Lomitas schools are recognized as among the best in the state. Student test scores reflect that success. Graduates advance to high school and college well prepared to meet high academic challenges.

Our teachers are key to the success of our students. Measure D will ensure that we can keep and attract quality teachers.

Six years ago, residents approved a parcel tax to provide the School District with funds to help pay teacher salaries and maintain important classroom programs. Costs have increased dramatically since then, and the tax expires June 2002. Measure D will re-authorize the existing parcel tax for another six years at a level that will allow the district to:

  • Keep teacher salaries competitive with neighboring districts;
  • Attract and retain the best teachers;
  • Maintain and improve our reading and writing programs;
  • Meet the increased cost for energy.

Surrounding school districts have parcel taxes near or above the $196 level proposed in Measure D, for comparison:

  • Palo Alto $293
  • Menlo Park $408
  • Woodside $196
  • Portola Valley $194
  • Los Altos $264

Funds from Measure D will allow the district to continue many important programs including:

  • Small class sizes;
  • Computer instruction integrated into the curriculum;
  • Science classes and labs;
  • Music and art instruction;
  • Foreign language classes for middle school students.

Measure D provides operating funds. Companion Measure E provides bond funds for buildings and classrooms. Both measures are important to maintain and enhance the quality of education at our local schools.

Property owners 65 and older will be exempt, upon application, from this tax on their primary residence.

Please join numerous district residents in supporting an investment in our schools, teachers, young people and future. Yes on Measure D and Measure E.

/s/ Linda Craig
President, League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County

/s/ Melvin B. Lane

/s/ Carol B. MacCorkle
Real Estate Broker

/s/ Ric Rudman

/s/ Libby Tyree-Taylor
President, Las Lomitas School Board

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Proponents boast of accomplishments. - At what price?

They urge you to "...join numerous district residents in supporting an investment in our schools..."

Nothing prevents caring individuals from writing checks to support schools of their choice. You might even consider supporting a private voucher foundation.

They ignore the impact of taxes on parents who would choose alternatives for their children. - Alternatives which must compete with a taxpayer funded government schooling monopoly.

How much do we spend on our government schools?

In 1991 opponents of the dubiously titled "Best Schools Proposal" (Measure A) estimated $6,500/year for each K-12 student. Today that estimate, which presumes that the myriad sources of funding are included, exceeds $10,000. Measure A would have raised the sales tax to 8 3/4%. Voters rejected it.

District budgets exclude e-rate subsidies funded by "non-tax" items on phone bills. Subsidies from other government agencies, such as $1/year leases, go unaccounted. Likewise, the current fad of subsidizing teacher housing is not in most District budgets. Let's count it all!

It's time invite public scrutiny of District operations

Try searching the District's website for financial information, agendas or minutes. After wading through touchy-feely fluff, you'll be asking "where's the beef?"

Until school districts are more forthcoming and timely with information on their websites, we urge voters to impose a moratorium on "blank checks" at the ballot box.

We urge seniors to "just say NO" to parcel tax proponents calculated efforts to buy votes with senior exemptions.

Vote NO on Measure D

/s/ John J. Hickey
Chair, Libertarian Party of San Mateo County

/s/ Christopher VA Schmidt
Retired Computer Professional

Adequate Funding: We all want our public schools to be adequately funded. That's why we ALREADY pay property taxes, and state and federal income taxes. District taxpayers (including renters) contribute $5 million in property taxes to the elementary school district each year, and other taxes bring the total to $8.5 million.

The district has gone tax crazy in the last 7 years: passing both a $12 million bond and a parcel tax which taps the taxpayer for an extra $400,000 each year.

Meanwhile, regular property taxes have increased 53% during that time, bringing in $1.7 million more per year than in 1993 - rendering the old parcel tax superfluous, and the proposed parcel tax absurd. (That's an average increase of 6.2% per year.) The total budget, including other revenue sources (e.g. rental property) increased 95% during that time (averaging 10% per year for 7 years).

The old parcel tax was $98. The proposed tax doubles that. Does their greed know no bounds?

Spending $8.5 million each year on 970 students amounts to $175,000 for each classroom of 20 students. That's enough to pay teachers good wages and leave plenty for maintenance and overhead. - And those taxes keep increasing every year.

Working within a budget. Does the District really need more money than we already give it in property taxes and state and federal income taxes? We say 'No'.

Some of our residents operate closer to the edge of personal insolvency than the District ever has. It is not right to ask them to pay extra taxes because some people on the district payroll have become greedy.

Please vote 'No', and demand that the District operate within its regular, ample, budget.

/s/ John J. Hickey
Chair, Libertarian Party of San Mateo County

/s/ Christopher VA Schmidt
Retired Computer Professional

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
As the cost of living in our area has skyrocketed, so has the cost to provide a quality education. The current tax support for the Las Lomitas School District cannot provide the level of education expected by residents. Measure D provides essential educational funds that are not available from other sources.

Voters approved our current parcel tax six years ago. It will expire next year. Costs and salaries have risen substantially since then. Measure D will continue this vital funding measure at $196 in order to meet today's costs. And it is tax deductible.

Measure D funds will be used for the following:

  • Paying teachers a salary reflective of their value and competitive with surrounding districts.
  • Offering teacher salaries that attract and retain the most qualified.
  • Having enough teachers to keep student to teacher ratios low and class sizes small.
  • Maintaining and improving essential classroom programs including reading and writing courses.
  • Meeting the increased cost for energy.

Surrounding districts have these fees at or higher than proposed in Measure D. Menlo Park now pays $408, Palo Alto $293, Los Altos $264.

Residents 65 and older can file for an exemption.

The two Measure D opponents don't even live in our community. They are opposing all school measures in San Mateo County. Their facts are inaccurate and figures are misleading.

Local homeowners, local seniors, local businesspeople, and local officials all support Measures D and E. Please vote Yes on Measures D and E.

/s/ William H. Draper III
Chairman, World Affairs Council of Northern California

/s/ Al Camarillo
Professor of History, Stanford University

/s/ Kerry Bouchier
Sharon Heights Resident

/s/ Nick Sabatini
Sharon Heights Homeowners' Assoc.

/s/ Maya Payne Sewald

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Created: December 3, 2001 02:34
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