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School board to shape parcel tax on Thursday

The stage for a parcel tax has been ready for months, and on Thursday evening the Cabrillo Unified School District will likely give the green light.

All the school board members have already voiced support for a June parcel tax. But the tough decision they have to make on Thursday is to gauge how much of a tax Coastside voters will stomach.

Selling any tax measure to scrupulous voters is always an uphill battle, but the school district’s quest for a parcel tax this year is a new game of desperation. Voters have rejected a tax to help local schools five times in recent memory, and at face value, an attempt to push another tax during a recession seems to defy logic.

But school advocates are hoping the economy and its brutal cuts to California schools will help stack the deck this time around. Cabrillo schools are facing a $2.5 million reduction, and the district has highlighted a list of cutbacks that will invariably hurt education.

The district’s proposed cuts taps the shoulders of some active parent groups on the Coastside, reminding them what’s at stake. If the tax doesn’t pass, will the school district have to close Kings Mountain Elementary? Could it be forced to eliminate the last sport stipends at the high school?

And that makes the district very sensitive to any allegation that there’s fat left to trim from schools. Over the last two weeks, the district pulled a U-turn on a plan to give salary increases to two administrators who would be taking on the job duties of a retiring employee. Superintendent Rob Gaskill initially defended the increases, saying the district was ultimately saving $130,000 by downsizing its admin team. But on Monday he publicly retracted the proposed raises, noting they had no community support.

The school board will weigh its local support against its need on Thursday. For a Super Bowl analogy: if the school board goes for $100-per-parcel tax or less, they’re doing a handoff. Something in the $100- to $175-per-parcel range is a short pass. Any higher and it’s a Hail Mary.


not all school board members want a parcel tax on the ballot

How many so-called "parcels" does Moonridge count as? I think its zero, meaning no help for the school district from all those people who have their kids educated and taught English by the school district. Doesn't seem very fair.

Voter says "Doesn't seem fair." I agree.

As a public school, the CUSD is required by law to provide certain entitlements. Some examples might be free meals for those that can't afford it, transportation to and from school for certain 'qualified' kids, and more. These are mandated by the State, yet the mandates don't come with the funding required to meet the laws.

Private schools, however, are not required to provide those entitlements. If/when they do, the customers (parents) have to pay for them one way or another.

The public education in CA is broken. Entitlements and their funding are only one example of that.

I will not be voting for a parcel tax. I have a problem with the way our public school system is run. We pay enough in taxes to support a good education for our children. The State just refuses to give back what we provide.

Ought to be an interesting meeting this Thursday.

Vote NO on any and all additional parcel taxes. In case the district isn't hearing us, we already voted NO four or five times already. At a time when many people are out of work and every dollar counts, this additional crank on the financial rack would be cruel indeed.

Cut the administrators' salaries. Cut out programs for illegals. Stop wasting money. Also, I'm sorry, but if parents have more than two children, i.e. replacement number, you ought to be paying for their schooling yourselves. I'm not your freaking cash box.

Unfortunately, it isn't just those of us who will have to pay a parcel tax who will be voting on the measure. I don't vote for any ballot measure that levies a tax on someone who did not cause the need for the monies. Case in point, there was a state measure a couple of years ago for an additional tax on those with incomes over a large amount, in the millions, I believe, and the monies were going to fight obesity or smoking or something. I don't make that kind of money but I didn't feel those people should have to pay for others' health problems.

You could say, I suppose, that I benefit from the children in my community receiving a good education and I can't argue with that. But the people who don't own property also benefit. Where's their fair share?

What's next, a tax on people with green eyes to pay for red-legged tree frog habitat?

It's not about the money, no matter how large or small the parcel tax is. It's about the mind set of the school board and their past behavior. The ten year wait for the middle school and all the time and money down the drain chasing that ill begotten Wavecrest plan. The lack of busing for children who live 8 or more miles away from their nearest school. The busing of minority children to a school three towns away from where they live, enhancing a disconnect from their own home communities. The lost opportunities to provide a good education for our youth that don't have anything to do with the amount of money spent. Sorry, the answer is still no.

Wheres my "Parcel COL Tax" no social security COL this year or next, no VA disability pension COL increase either & you want a parcel tax?

Yes on parcel tax. For those with no kids in the system, consider how supporting our schools might affect the value of your home. $100-200/yr is probably a good trade-off.

As for those that don't own...what is it you're trying to say with a no vote?

Comments about the school board and their past behavior to me is irrelevant. The district needs $$ to stay in business because the state is broke. Bottom line...it's about the kids and our community.

The problem is that many "with no kids in the school", have had kids in the school system, and know just how screwed up it is.

Major changes must take place, and they will not happen by continued bail outs from the current crop of parents, which is what the school system continues to depend on.

No on the parcel tax. Explore cutting back what the superintendent is making. It is over $200K with benefits galore. The district has only 3000 students. He is paid more than Superintendents with much larger pupil populations.


According to the CUSD web site these are the dollars spent on education of our children:

"The Cabrillo Unified School District spends $7,781 per pupil in current expenditures. The district spends 59% on instruction, 39% on support services, and 2% on other elementary and secondary expenditures."

Some Comparison Numbers:

New York $14,119 per Pupil

New Jersey $13,800 per Pupil

D.C. $ 12,979 per Pupil

Vermont $ 11,835 per Pupil

Conn. $ 11,572 per Pupil

The National Average is $8701 per Pupil

So here we are in the middle of the most expensive county in the United States to live in and we don't even meet the average.

So keep on keeping on. Let our school system disintegrate, let our home values disintegrate, let our children fall further behind the rest of the country and world, but you keep that $150.00.

Forget trying to sell the parcel tax on this board. We'll see them whine again about immigration, AIG, religion, the state, frogs, pensions (whatever a pension is), and whatever sets them off today. I bet most already blew $150 at a restaurant or on HD cable this month.

There are only indirect, second-hand assumptions that any parcel tax would improve education in the CUSD. The district board could not be trusted to handle funds well in the past (thus the interminable Wavecrest fiasco) and has shown no refreshed inspiration to do so now. The property value thing is a leftover assumption from the post-WWII days when almost every home had a kid or two and almost everyone in slurbia owned their own homes (on single incomes, no less). Not relevant in most districts nowadays.

Pin it down as to how a specific proposed parcel tax will benefit both public education and parcel owners, and you will get your supermajority easily. Keep it vague and emotional, and you will lose if the past five parcel tax proposals are any indication. Writing in exemptions to get votes of one interest group or another won't work, either, as the exemptions are embarrassing. In other words, make it more sensible than a dimwitted appeal to "do it for the kiddies."

"Forget trying to sell the parcel tax on this board."

But it has to be "sold" somewhere, doesn't it? Past sales efforts didn't quite get it. This time the PT will have a particularly tough time of it because the district has irritated voters by going to the well too often and, moreso, because of the bad economic times involving lowered property values and loss of jobs.

Some years ago I witnessed a district in the reddest of right-wing, anti-taxation, property-wrongs counties in the state vote a parcel tax on itself by a wide margin for support of a small rural hospital and old folks home. Why? The measure had clear value to the voters.

QT writes: "I bet most already blew $150 at a restaurant or on HD cable this month."

Do you hear what you're saying? That if people have a little extra money at the end of the month to enjoy the fruits of their labors then they have no excuse not to hand it over to the government instead. And heaven forbid they should protest ("whine") about being fleeced.

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