Burlingame voters will be considering the renewal of two parcel taxes that total $256 a year this November that the district says are needed to keep up with programming such as music, art, reading, writing, science and engineering.
The school board voted 4-0 on July 17, with president Greg Land absent, to consolidate the district’s current two parcel taxes that support its schools and to renew the consolidated tax for 14 years from July 1, 2016. Measure E was approved in 2011 and was a $76 per parcel per year levied for four years, totaling about $589,000 a year. Voters in the district approved Measure B, a 10-year $180 per year parcel tax, in March 2010. A study by Godbe Research shows voters are mostly in support of such a measure, with more than 70 percent of those surveyed saying they’d vote yes.
“We take nothing for granted, but we have worked closely with the community and really thought about our needs,” said Trustee Davina Drabkin. “Our community continues to be very supportive of our schools.”
Other important reasons for the parcel tax, Drabkin said, include making sure the district retains highly qualified teachers, maintains libraries and keeps class sizes small.
“It’s very important we keep it (the taxes) going,” Drabkin said. “We offer exceptional academic programs and we’re over the state average for testing.”
The taxes are simply an extension of current local funding and aren’t new taxes altogether, Drabkin emphasized. With instability from state funding, it’s important to keep local streams of funding coming into the district, she added.
“Our schools depend on this voter-approved funding to provide stable, reliable funds to preserve the quality education that our community expects,” she said. “Funding from the state has typically been unstable.”
Godbe Research’s study was conducted from March 19-26 asking 320 people representing 16,366 registered likely November 2014 voters in the district about their thoughts on a parcel tax renewal measure. Interviews lasted about 18 minutes. It was designed to identify the duration at which voters will support the measure; prioritize projects and programs to be funded with the proceeds; and test the influence of supporting and opposing arguments on potential voter support. The error rate is plus or minus 5.4 percent for the sample.
Voters sampled seemed to be more in favor of a measure that included the specific amount of the parcel tax versus language that didn’t include the exact amount, with 42.6 percent saying definitely yes under the specific language and 38.8 percent saying probably yes with the vague language.
The measure requires a two-thirds majority to pass.
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