Portola Valley schools parcel tax hearing set for Feb. 6 | February 6, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Schools - February 6, 2013

Portola Valley schools parcel tax hearing set for Feb. 6

by Renee Batti

Just ahead of a Feb. 6 public hearing to discuss renewal and possible increase of the district's parcel tax, Portola Valley School District Superintendent Carol Piraino has sent a message to the community emphasizing the need for local funding that can't be touched by the state.

"We know we can't rely on the state to provide the quality of education our students deserve," Ms. Piraino said in a written statement. "That is why the governing board is currently evaluating options to renew and enhance this stable source of local funding. ..."

The existing parcel tax measures C and D both expire next year. The two-school district raises almost $1 million annually with the tax — nearly 10 percent of its budget.

District property owners now pay a total of $458 per parcel per year. Although district officials had hoped voters might support not only renewal of the tax but a hike of close to $200, a recent survey showed that an increase of $123 to $129 might be more palatable to likely voters.

The district may place renewal measures on the ballot as soon as May.

Spending of parcel tax revenue is restricted to educational programs with emphasis on science, math, reading and writing instruction; attracting and retaining qualified, experienced teachers; supporting arts and music programs; and maintaining small class size.

"If a measure is placed on the ballot, you can be assured that no funds from the measure will be used for administrator salaries, an independent citizens' oversight committee and annual audits will be required to ensure funds are used properly, and an exemption will continue to be available for seniors to make certain the cost is not a burden to those on a fixed income," Ms. Piraino said in her statement.

The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, in room 102 of Corte Madera School, 4575 Alpine Road in Portola Valley. After the hearing, the school board will nail down the specifics of what it will put before voters, and will act on the district's recommendation to place the parcel tax measures on the May 7 all-mail ballot.