Almanac

Schools - May 15, 2013

Voters pass Portola Valley School District's parcel tax measure

by Renee Batti

Semi-official results reported by the county elections office on May 7 show that Measure O, which renews the Portola Valley School District's annual parcel tax for eight years and increases it by $123 per parcel, has passed by a comfortable margin.

With all 11 precincts counted, the county reported that 1,507 voters (69.07 percent) cast "yes" votes, while 675 voters (30.93 percent) opposed the measure. A two-thirds vote was needed to pass Measure O, which renews the existing tax of $458 per parcel for eights years and authorizes increasing the tax to $581, effective July of this year.

The school district board authorized the all-mail ballot in February after discussing options at several public meetings. Ballots, which were mailed to all registered voters in the district beginning in mid-April, were due at 8 p.m. May 7.

The district has raised almost $1 million annually with the current tax — nearly 10 percent of its budget. District officials estimate that the renewed and increased tax will add about $265,065 on top of that. The exact amount is uncertain because property owners who are 65 and older can apply for an exemption, as can people with disabilities who are receiving supplemental security income (SSI), if they live on the property.

Revenue from the tax is earmarked for educational programs, with emphasis on math, science, reading, writing, art and music, and would also be used to maintain "qualified and experienced teachers" and small class size.

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