Schools - February 10, 2010

PV schools put tax on ballot

by Andrea Gemmet

Voters will be asked to help fill an estimated $500,000 gap in the Portola Valley School District's budget with a four-year, $168 parcel tax in a special May 4 mail-in election.

At a sparsely attended Feb. 3 meeting, the school board voted 4-0, with Steve Humphreys absent, to place the tax on the ballot.

The parcel tax won't fill the entire budget gap, but will be used to maintain core academic programs such as reading, science and math, as well as to keep class sizes relatively low, Superintendent Anne Campbell told The Almanac.

The district is expecting another round of cuts in state funding amounting to about $300 per student in the coming school year, she said. While enrollment isn't expected to grow much next year, neither are property tax revenues, she said.

The parcel tax would not be used for administrative expenses, and would have an exemption for senior citizens, Ms. Campbell said. There's no provision for cost of living increases to the parcel tax amount, she said.

Property owners in the district currently pay a $290 annual parcel tax that passed in 2004 and lasts for 10 years.


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