Millbrae school officials are readying plans for a parcel tax on the June 2014 ballot to raise about $450,000 a year, however, much depends on a community survey to be conducted in January.
“It’s up to school district to really educate community and public since we only have grades K-8 and we’re recycling parents and families constantly every couple of years,” said Frank Barbaro, president of the Millbrae Elementary School District Board of Trustees. “We have to get back out there and reeducate. We have families moving into community and we’re the lowest funded in the county.”
The budget for the 2013-14 school year is projected to be about $17.145 million with the new Local Control Funding Formula, according to a staff report. The district is going to be underfunded by approximately $3.72 million, the report stated. The new funding formula will send $2.1 billion more to school districts that have high numbers of students from lower-income families, who have limited English proficiency or are foster children. During the first year, the formula gives school districts more control over state aid by eliminating earmarks for state-mandated programs, except for special education funding. There is still uncertainty in the district about how its budget will be affected by the changes.
The proposal was discussed at a school board study session Monday. Members of the public who attended the meeting gave positive feedback and the district absolutely needs the funding, Barbaro said. Right now, the district is in the process of trying to get community input to see if parents and the general community would support it.
Other trustees would like to see a parcel tax pass soon, including Trustee Denis Fama, who believes a parcel tax is really important to help bolster the district’s programs.
“The next step is get out more communications to the community in general,” Fama said. “Funding from the state has been somewhat sporadic and we would be able to, in the short term, sustain programs and reward teachers when we have a good cash flow. We will have to be very specific of its use though.”
The last parcel tax went to Millbrae voters in June 2008 and didn’t pass. The district would have received $400,000 to $492,000 from the $78-per-parcel tax to go toward reinstating music, library, instructional and technology aides and custodians in the school, along with protecting teachers from layoffs and maintaining programs. A two-thirds majority vote, 66.66 percent, is needed for this type of measure to pass and 66.29 percent of voters said yes in 2008, while 33.71 percent voted no.
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