Two parcel tax measures -- in the Menlo Park and Portola Valley school districts -- passed easily, according to results released Tuesday night (May 4) by San Mateo County election officials.
In the K-8 Menlo Park district, 76 percent of voters approved Measure C, a seven-year, $178 annual parcel tax.
In Portola Valley, another K-8 district, 78 percent of voters approved Measure D, a four-year, $168 annual parcel tax.
Both measures required a two-thirds yes vote to pass. Ballots in the all-mail elections had to be received by 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 4.
How will passage of the taxes affect the districts?
In an e-mail today (May 5), Menlo Park district Superintendent Ken Ranella said: "Following the special board meeting on May 10, I should be able to rescind the preliminary layoff notices of teachers and other certificated employees and mitigate the reduction of services by classified and administrative employees."
Jeff Child, board president in the Menlo Park district, said the tax is expected to bring in $1.4 million a year, substantially reducing an anticipated $2 million deficit. He noted that the district expects 5 percent enrollment growth in the 2010-11 school year.
"We are so thrilled that the community showed such support," Portola Valley School District board President Judith Mendelsohn said in an interview. The tax revenues "will certainly make a difference in the amount of budget cuts we'll make next year."
The district had cut the budget by $1 million for the 2009-2010 school year and was looking at more cuts of about $550,000 for 2010-11, Ms. Mendelsohn said. The parcel tax, including exemptions from it requested by elderly homeowners, should bring in $345,000, she said.
A set of proposed cuts to be reviewed at a forum this morning (May 6) would reduce district administration spending by about $1.2 million, and keep cuts as far away as possible from the classrooms, Ms. Mendelsohn said. "It's kind of a restructuring," she said.
"The property tax revenues (for the district) are looking sort of flat to down," she added.
In the Menlo Park district, 5,767 voted for Measure C and 1,804 were opposed, according to the report released May 4 by the county elections office.
In the Portola Valley district, 1,942 voted vote Measure D and 561 were opposed.
The county reported that a total of 10,085 ballots were cast in the two school districts, 48 percent of the registered voters in the districts.
The Menlo Park tax is in addition to $565 in annual parcel taxes paid by property owners in the K-8 school district, which includes much of Menlo Park and Atherton.
Property owners in the Portola Valley district currently pay a $290 annual parcel tax that passed in 2004 and lasts for 10 years.
To view the semi-official results, click here.
Voters can go the county elections Web site shapethefuture.org, and click on the "Track and Confirm" button to confirm that the elections office received their ballot, according to Warren Slocum, the county's chief elections officer.
For more information on the parcel tax measures, go to the county elections Web site.