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Portola Valley schools parcel tax passes

Original post made on May 8, 2013

Semi-official results reported by the county elections office Tuesday night (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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 8:47 PM

Comments (5)

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Posted by PV Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

It's almost mind boggling to me that 2/3 of the residents of Portola Valley do not believe in accountability. I am so sick of the the additional parcel taxes for school related expenses. The fact that PV Schools spends twice the state average per student is disturbing. And the fact that the Las Lomitas School District spends $5,000 less per student and gets slightly better state test results is amazing. What are we thinking? Is the administration just that bad? Is it the teachers? I think there are quite a few residents and possibly school officials who just don't want to admit that money is not the quite the whole problem in the PV school district -- it's the parents. Public education is never going to be the same quality level of private education, and you can keep throwing money at the problem -- not your own individual money, but all of our money, by forcing more taxes down our throats; however, you still end up with something slightly less. Throw in the lack of accountability, the fact that parents but into the school administration's business decisions and you have a powder keg of problems that have nothing to do with parcel taxes and everything to do with an overhaul of the politics of PV Parents and PV Schools.

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Posted by Spartacus
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

It seems inappropriate to allow some PV property owners -- many of whom are quite well-off and already pay a fraction of the property taxes paid by newer owners by virtue of Prop 13 -- to vote for this forced contribution by others, while preserving an "opt out" for themselves.

Assuming it is true that support for local schools (even if excessive) beneficially impacts property values, this creates a category of "free-riders."

Actually, it's more insidious: Those planning to "opt out" are incentivized to vote for an assessment which improves their own property values, knowing that they will benefit from something for which they do not have to pay.

-How many voted for this measure who plan to opt out?

-Would it have passed without these votes?

-To be consistent with the concept of equal protection (as well as basic fairness), shouldn't the measure be required to receive a 2/3 majority of those actually paying the tax?

-Are those opting out willing to have their names published? (Presumably fairly easily compiled from public records)

This would be a great topic for a follow-up article by the Almanac.

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Posted by Sir Topham Hatt
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Sparty- while I hear your concerns about those voting for a tax who don't have to pay it, this is the tip of the iceberg of that phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of Californians who don't pay state income tax voted to raise mine; same story at the Federal level. Voting for tax increases you won't have to deal with is an unfortunate trend.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

2182 citizens voted - about a 40% turnout.

1507 for

675 against

Which means that about 30% of the registered voters succeeded in raising the taxes on 100% of the citizens.

This shows the importance of every citizen exercising their right to vote.

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Posted by Marie
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 8, 2013 at 9:34 pm

@spartacus. I like your idea of a public record of those who opt out of the school taxes.

I have neighbors who have opted out despite the fact both their children went through Las Lomitas schools and local high schools. Their decision not to pay annoyed me further because one of them worked first for Las Lomitas and then in a highly paid position for the school district, thus earning an excellent pension. Of course, as pre Prop 13 home owners, they also have a low property tax.

I think our community would recognize the names of those home owners who really do not need this tax break and social disapprobation might persuade them to pay up.. Yes, I know there are many older folks who are on fixed and fairly low incomes who need the tax breaks and they should get them.

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