A $78 a year parcel tax is set to expire in June and the San Carlos Elementary School District Board of Trustees is preparing to explore options for renewal, an increase, potential consolidation or to not renew the tax.
Measure B, a six-year, $78 per year tax, passed in 2009 with 71.67 percent approval and is one of two active parcel taxes the district currently has running. The other, Measure A, was approved in 2011 for eight years and is a charge of $110.60 per parcel per year. The district has until Feb. 6 to compose a resolution for a May 5, 2015, ballot if it wants to take that route.
The district does have elements of success for a successful renewal, including the fact that both community members with and without students in the district has supported the schools, said Jared Boigon of TBWB, an advisor to the district on the Measure A parcel tax. Boigon said he’s found all-mail ballot special elections seem to have the most success. He noted 11 of the 13 all-mail special elections for K-12 parcel taxes since 2009 have passed. San Carlos had two of those, including Measure B, which generates about $720,000 per year for the district.
“It’s a check-in mechanism,” he said at a meeting Thursday night. “What’s been successful is modest bites.”
Board Vice President Carol Elliot wondered if there could be potential for overestimating the public’s generosity, but Trustee Kathleen Farley said the district doesn’t have another source of revenue to take the parcel tax’s place.
“I’m curious about the combining and how that has worked for people in the past,” Farley said.
If the district selects May 5 as the election date, ballots would be mailed out April 6 and voters would have 29 days to submit their ballots. The suggested time to do a voter opinion poll is September or October.
“We do have time, but we are a little rushed to get the best data potentially,” said board President Adam Rak.
Meanwhile, Trustee Seth Rosenblatt doesn’t think a general poll will inform the board very well.
“If for some reason we felt it was the right thing to do, tax the community, even if we felt like we were just going to renew as is, frankly a poll wouldn’t tell me much,” he said. “I’d rather have a poll help inform that (the options). I’m confident voters would approve a straight renewal.”
Rak noted the other generic questions might inform the board as to where the community wants to spend money for the school, from lowering class sizes to implementing new technologies.
“My sense is I’d like to look at those other options,” Rak said. “Some sort of survey would make sense. We need to get out of habit of doing a renewal every couple years. We should understand what the possibilities are going into it.”
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105