Instead of asking voters to approve one new parcel tax that is larger than the tax set to expire, the Menlo Park City School District's governing board is considering asking voters to approve two separate parcel tax measures in a special May election. One tax would be at the exact rate of the expiring tax and another would be tied directly to changes in student enrollment.
The board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, to vote on putting the measures on the ballot. If the board approves what was presented Jan. 21, both measures would propose permanent taxes, with no expiration dates.
Property owners in the district now pay four separate parcel taxes three that are permanent and one that will expire at the end of June 2017. All four taxes can rise each year by the amount of any increase in the Bay Area consumer price index.
The total for all four parcel taxes, which appear as one on tax bills, is $851.60 for the 2015-16 tax year. The parcel tax due to expire is currently $201.38 and provides about $1.58 million annually to the district.
One of the two measures the board has proposed putting on the ballot is for a $201.38 permanent parcel tax.
A second measure on the same ballot would ask voters to approve a tax of $2.20 per parcel for each student who enrolls beyond the 2,938 students currently in the district. For example, if the student count in the district rose by 71 students (the increase a consultant has predicted for next school year), the tax would be $156.20, or $2.20 times 71. If enrollment increased by only 50 students, the tax would be $110. The measure would be capped at 213 additional students, or $468.60, adjusted for inflation.
Because the second measure is totally dependent on enrollment, the parcel tax total could vary year to year. If the 7l student prediction is correct, and both measures are approved, the 2017-18 tax bill per parcel would be $961.60, adjusted by the amount of inflation this year.
If the second parcel tax hit its maximum of a 213 student increase, which is the number of students predicted in five years, the parcel tax in the district would total $1,320.20 per parcel per year, adjusted for any inflation.
The board does not plan to choose one measure or the other, but wants to put both measures on the ballot for voter approval.
In the proposal shown to the board on Jan. 21, as with all the district's existing parcel taxes, those 65 and older would be able apply for an exemption from the tax, but must do so each year. The new tax could also increase annually with increases in the consumer price index.