WCCSD considering a parcel tax, should MDUSD?

Last September West Contra Costa School District polled their community to determine if a parcel tax was feasible and found only 56% of voters would support a parcel tax measure (67% required). They chose not to pursue a parcel tax measure.

Last November Mt. Diablo Unified School District polled their community to determine if a parcel tax was feasible and found only 59% of voters would support a parcel tax measure (67% required). They chose not to pursue a parcel tax measure.

In June 2010 WCCSD pursued a $380 million bond measure instead and was successful.
In June 2010 MDUSD pursued a $348 million bond measure instead and was successful.

The WCCSD cumulative cost to taxpayers of all outstanding bond measures is $239/$100,000 of assessed value. In addition, WCCSD has a $72 parcel tax for facility maintenance and improvements. They also have a second parcel tax of 7.2 cents per square foot equating to $108 per 1,500 square foot home for educational programs, libraries, athletics, and teachers.

The MDUSD cumulative cost to taxpayers of all outstanding bond measures is $60/$100,000 of assessed value. In addition, MDUSD has a $67/parcel Mello-Roos tax used to fund a $90 million dollar facilities bond. MDUSD does not have a parcel tax to save or restore educational programs, libraries, athletics, and teachers.

This week the WCCSD school board approved going forward with polling to determine support for another parcel tax in November.

Should MDUSD pursue a parcel tax?

West Contra Costa schools to gauge support for November parcel tax

Ironic… What are we voting for?

While conducting research for an upcoming post I came across this article from 2004 and thought it was ironic enough to be shared.

7/1/2004
The Contra Costa Times
Jackie Burrell

… The dispute eventually led Superintendent Gary McHenry to ask the board if it had confidence in his leadership.

At issue is $8.9 million in capital funding from 2002’s Measure C, targeted for middle and high school vocational technology centers. But trustees also are troubled by differing interpretations of a technological vision that was never spelled out in the first place…

….Trustees Linda Mayo and Richard Allen confessed reservations but said they felt that halting the project now would hurt students.

Trustee Gary Eberhart, who cast the lone vote against funding the program, had no such compunctions.

“I’m not going to be boxed into a corner, ” he said. “This is an issue near and dear to my heart, but if I don’t know what it is (we’re voting on), I’m not going to support it.”

I think Gary Eberhart sums it up nicely.

Like Board Member Eberhart’s decision making process at that board meeting six years ago, on Tuesday voters in this community should not feel boxed into a corner regarding this 2010 Bond Measure C. While the article above is not about an election it is reflective on many levels of how we are made to believe if we oppose a program, or in our case a bond measure, that is not well-planned, clear, or prudent then we are somehow voting against children. This could not be further from the truth.

MEASURE C INFORMATION:

Cost: $1.87 BILLION

Interest: Of the $1.87 BILLION $1.5 Billion is interest and will never reach our schools or classrooms

Term: 42 years – The seniors from the Class of 2010 will be 60 years old and the technology, solar, and air conditioning will have been long since gone.

Solar: The election is in 4 days and there is still no analysis for the solar project available on the district web site for the community to view. The solar project is the district’s highest priority, largest, and most expensive project planned with the proceeds from this Measure C ($68 million).
Dr. Lawrence, Gary Eberhart, Paul Strange, and Pete Pederson have all quoted different revenue numbers. No one, including voters, seems to know revenues, expenses, timeline, or the return on investment for this solar project.

Project Lists: Posted school site project lists were developed from the 2002 Measure C list with no time for community input. Some school lists include projects that have already been completed. The posted project lists do not adequately reflect the promises outlined in campaign literature. Items on the list such as middle school science clusters have not been defined. Why aren’t these called science labs, a term for which parents are familiar? What is instructional technology? Tech support was cut last spring and professional development is at risk, how will our teacher’s be trained and supported with this new technology? Technology to support engineering, biotech, computer programming, and electronics, how will we fund these classes where they do not yet exist? Where is the strategic plan that guides clear decision making with respect to expenditures, cuts, and new programs?

Reinstated Programs:
The literature says this bond will help restore programs. To date there is no priority list for reinstating programs.

Other:
4 members of the CUES committee left the committee and oppose the 2010 Measure C.
Only 4 of 16 members of the 2002 Measure C Oversight Committee support the 2010 Measure C.
The Contra Costa Times is not endorsing the 2010 Measure C and is recommending a “no” vote.

Today, as parents and voters, we are in a position to say, “I need more information, better planning, and a better bond structure before I can vote yes.” Ironic.