Belmont-Redwood Shores school parcel tax behind by 46 votes

By the Daily Post staff

Four mid-Peninsula school districts asked voters for money in the June 5 primary, and all of the measures passed except for one that appears to be struggling — Measure K, $118 a year parcel tax that would raise $1.4 million annually for the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District.

Measures in the Ravenswood, Las Lomitas and Mountain View-Los Altos High School districts all passed.

But Measure K is behind by 46 votes, though more ballots still need to be counted.

It needs 66.7% to pass. According to semi-official results posted Friday (June 15) by the San Mateo County Elections Office, the measure only has 66.1% of the vote.

Of the ballots already counted, the measure received 5,291 “yes” votes and 2,711 “no” votes. At this point, it’s short 46 votes of the two-thirds threshold.

Officials still need to count about 46,000 more ballots countywide, according to Assistant Chief Elections Officer Jim Irizarry. It’s not known how many of those ballots are in the Belmont-Redwood Shores District.

The county expects to release final numbers at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday (June 20), meaning ballot counters are working over the weekend to meet the deadline, Irizarry said.

Why is Measure K in trouble?

Dirk Van Ulden, of Belmont, said residents are “getting hit up by the district every couple of years” for money to support the schools, and he suspects that may be a reason why people voted against it.

In 2014, voters approved a $48 million bond measure, and in 2013 they passed a 10-year, $174 parcel tax. Measure K would raise $1.4 million a year.

The district sought the tax to deal with $5 million in state funding cuts in the past three years and a 66% enrollment growth in the past nine years.

State has cut district’s budget Belmont-Redwood Shores School District is a basic aid district, which means it is funded by the state based on the number of students enrolled.

However, because the district is high-per-forming, its budget has been cut, the district contends.

Van Ulden said he thinks local leaders, such as council members and State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, should team up with school districts to put pressure on Sacramento legislators to revamp how money is given to school districts.

But it does not seem like a revamp of school funding is in the cards right now. School Board President Huan Phan told the Post last week that the board and district officials will be examining options for potentially going back to the ballot because without the tax, the district’s funds will drop below the state’s required amount for districts. If that occurs and the district does not make the needed cuts, it would result in a state takeover.