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November 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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Special District

Redwood City School District
Measure H Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Failing

8,868 votes yes (65.6%)

4,648 votes no (34.4%)

To maintain quality education in Redwood City with local funding that cannot be taken by the State, to attract and retain highly qualified teachers; support quality reading and writing programs; maintain science, technology, engineering and math instruction; and reduce class sizes in kindergarten and first grade, shall a Redwood City School District parcel tax measure of $149 per parcel for 12 years be adopted, raising $3,450,000 annually with citizen oversight, exemption for seniors, and all funds staying local?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

The California Constitution and State law authorize school districts to levy qualified special taxes for specified purposes. Goverment Code Sections 50077 and 50079 provide that such a tax measure passes if two-thirds of those voting on it vote to approve the measure.

By this Measure, the Board of Trustees of the Redwood City School District ("District") proposes a special tax on parcels in the District to support various educational purposes outlined below. If this Measure is approved, an annual tax of $149 per parcel would be imposed for a period of 12 years starting July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2032. The District estimates that approximately $3.45 million would be raised annually by the tax.

The proposed tax applies to any unit of real property which lies wholly or partially in the District that receives a separate property tax bill from San Mateo County tax collection officials. Parcels otherwise exempt from such property taxes will be exempt from this proposed tax. Any individual owning and occupying a parcel as a single-family residence may apply for an exemption to this tax if they: (1) are age 65 years or older; (2) receive Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age; or (3) receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, and have an annual income not exceeding 250% of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines.

The stated purposes of the tax are to: (1) attract and retain highly qualified teachers; (2) support quality reading and writing skills in schools; (3) maintain science, technology, engineering, and math instruction; and (4) reduce class sizes in kindergarten and first grade. Decisions regarding how the tax proceeds are allocated for these stated purposes and among specific projects or programs within the District shall be made at the sole discretion of the Board of Trustees.

The proceeds of the tax shall only be used for the state purposes and for no other purposes. No proceeds may be spent on administrators' salaries or benefits.

The District will provide the following accountability measure for the tax proceeds: the proceeds will be placed into a special account; an annual report accounting for the proceeds and the status of projects or programs funded by the tax will be filed with the District's Board of Trustees; and an independent citizens oversight committee will oversee expenditures of the proceeds.

The proposed tax is not intended to jeopardize local, state, or federal funding and, if any such funding is reduced or offset because of the tax, the District may reduce the a mount the tax levied as necessary to restore the funding. Also the District's appropriations limit will be increased annually if necessary to ensure revenue from the tax may be spent for the listed purposes.

A "Yes" vote on this Measure would impose an annual tax of $149 per taxable parcel on property within the District for a period of 12 years beginning July 1, 2020 for the purposes listed above.

A "No" vote on this measure would not allow the parcel tax to be levied.

The measure passes if two-thirds of those voting on the measure vote "yes." 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Vote YES on H to provide local funding for our elementary and middle schools that can't be taken away by the State.

Thanks to our supportive communities and high quality teachers, local student achievement has continued to grow. However, the fact remains our elementary and middle schools are among the lowest funded in San Mateo County and are now facing a $10 million-dollar deficit due to state mandated cost increases.

We know we can't rely on the State of ensure our children have access to the same quality of education as in neighboring communities. Our kids deserve better.

Measure H is essential for our schools. It will provide an additional source of stable local funding to protect our students from additional cuts in the classroom where it matters most and ensures they are ready for high school and their futures.

Voting Yes on Measure H allows our schools to attract and retain our award-winning teachers by providing them with the resources they need to help our students succeed.

Measure H Protects Student Success:

 * Attracts and retains highly qualified teachers

 * Supports reading and writing skills

 * Maintains science, technology, engineering, and math instruction

 * Reduce class sizes in kindergarten and first grade

Every Penny Supports Local Elementary and Middle Schools

 * All funds stay local and cannot be taken by the State

 * No money can be used for administrator salaries

 * Independent citizens' oversight and annual audits ensures funds are spent as promised

 * Senior citizen homeowners continue to be eligible for an exemption

 * Measure H expires in 12 years and cannot be renewed without voter approval

Quality local schools help keep our communities strong and protect local property values

All students deserve access to quality education. Please join parents, teachers, and community leaders in voting Yes on H.

 

/s/ Jeff Ira, Former Redwood City Mayor

/s/ Sarah LaTorra, Parent at Clifford

/s/ Rita Melton, Teacher

/s/ Amy Buckmaster, President & CEO, Redwood City Chamber of Commerce 

Arguments AGAINST

In 2012, voters approved a five year, $67 parcel tax for the Redwood City School District. In 2016, voters approved a 14 years "renewal" of that tax, while coincidentally increasing it to $85. Now, they seek an additional 12 year parcel tax of $149.

No more property tax!

The District closed 4 campuses in response to a drastic decline in enrollment. The economies from those closures should have balanced their budget. But no, the outrageous costs of pensions coupled with $16.7 million in unfunded costs of the mandated Special Education Program produced a deficit which prompted this parcel tax.

Dealing With Pensions and Special Ed

The District and others like it should offer teachers, who have difficulty finding affordable living quarters, increased current income in exchange for concessions in their platinum retirement benefits. And, the mandated Special Education Program should be funded by State and Federal dollars!

Property Taxes Servicing $200,000,000 Bond debt!

Besides the revenue from the proposed parcel tax, the District projected $3,100,000 in general revenue for the 2020/2021 fiscal year from the planned leasing of four closed campuses. These campuses benefitted from bond money secured by property taxes. Bond debt will grow to more than $200,000,000 this year. The District has no intention of using lease revenue to service the bond debt.

Property Taxes would be lowered if lease revenue was used to service bond debt!

Vote No on Measure H

 

/s/ John J. Hickey, Advocate for Taxpayers

Replies to Arguments FOR

Redwood City School District Measure H says "No parcel tax funds will be spent on administrative salaries." School Site Councils control parcel tax funds. It appears that funds are used for stated purposes.  Fact: Such expenditures relieve the budget. Administrative salaries can be increased.  That's called fungibility.

Proponents say, "our elementary and middle schools are the lowest funded in San Mateo County." When you factor in a projected $200,000,000 of bond debt services by our property taxes, payments to service state matching fund bond debt, state pension contributions for District teachers and staff, state and county expenditures on K-12 education, subsidies from the City of Redwood City, Sequoia Healthcare District, etc., we're looking at about $16,000 per student. With half that amount, and an unshackled private sector, parents could find better alternatives for their children.

Let parents choose!

The district is opposing Adelante campus lease to Stratford School citing negative enrollment impact. San Bruno Park School District leased their Crestmoor campus to Stratford in 2014. Enrollment went up in 2015. In 2018, they sold their El Crystal campus to Stratford. Stratford would be a welcome addition to our community of schools.

Don't perpetuate the education monopoly

The large apartment complexes being built in Redwood City have created a large increase in voters who have no tax consequences if parcel taxes pass. Measure H exploits this inequity. Future elections may only require 55%. 

Every vote counts! Vote NO on Measure H!

 

/s/ Mark W.A. Hinkle, President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

/s/ Maria Rutenburg, Individual

/s/ John J. Hickey, Advocate for Taxpayers

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The lone author of the argument against Measure H routinely opposes local education funding measures regardless of need. This ideologue is not invested in our schools or our students' futures.

As local leaders, we are proud to be a part of a community that believes a high quality education is essential for the success of our children. We make it a priority to know our schools and our community and that is why we are voting Yes on H.

We cannot rely on the State to provide the funding we need to support student achievement. Our elementary and middle schools are among the lowest funded in San Mateo County. We can make a differrence locally. Measure H provides a dedicated source of local revenue for our local schools that the State can't touch.

Citizens' Oversight ensures Measure H supports education, not administrators. Measure H requires audits and an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee just like rpevious measures.  You can read Citizen Oversight Committee reports verifying funds have been spent wisely at www.rcsdk8.net/Page/5563. No funds can be spent on administrative salaries.

Measure H protects core academic programs and helps retain teachers. Measure H will generate $3.4 million annually in locally-controlled funding to retain highly qualified teachers, support core academics, and reduce class sizes in kindergarten and first grade.

We are parents, business owners, and education leaders, and we are taxpayers, too.

The strength of our community reflects the strength of our schools.

Vote Yes on H to keep our schools and community strong.

 

/s/ Rick Hunter, CPA

/s/ Jennifer Overbey, Teacher at Clifford

/s/ Giselle Hale, Councilwoman

/s/ Ann Hynecek, Founder, Redwood City Parents for Better Education Funding

/s/ Veronica Escamez, Casa Circulo Cultural Founder 

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