School board considering November parcel tax vote — amount would stay the same

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Palo Alto School Board will meet Tuesday night (July 7) to decide whether to ask voters in November to extend the current $836-per-parcel tax for another six years.

The board had initially voted earlier this year to hold a special election on May 5, but on March 17, canceled that election, citing the ever-changing response to COVID-19.

At that time, the board was considering asking voters for $868 per parcel, however, Chief Business Officer Carolyn Chow is now recommending that the board place a continuance of the current $836 per parcel tax on the ballot.

The tax would increase by 2% each year for the six years of its duration. Seniors can file for an exemption from the tax.

The existing tax is set to expire on July 1, 2021, and brings in about $15 million a year, which is about 7% of the district’s budget.

The district has cut positions in order to save $4.2 million due to decreased revenue from the city of Palo Alto leasing less of the Cubberley Community Center and losing about $1 million in revenue from the state. The district is at the same time, having to spend money because of safety precautions for employees and students when they come back to the district’s campuses.

Placing the measure on the ballot costs $500,000, according to an estimate from the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

Sixteen years ago, in 2004, voters rejected a $521-per-parcel tax. It only got 66% of the vote and at the time the threshold needed for passage was 66.7%. The next three times the school board went for parcel taxes, they passed with more than 70% of the vote.

In June 2005, voters approved a $465-per-parcel tax with 73% of the vote. May 2010, voters approved a $589-per-parcel tax with 79% of the vote. And in May 2015, voters approved a $758-per-parcel tax with 77% of the vote. That measure expires next year.

Voters approved a $460 million bond, Measure Z, for the district in November 2018. The bond costs $394 for every million in assessed value.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (July 7), instructions for watching or participating in the meeting can be found here:

1 Comment

  1. You’d think they could give it a break! Why, at a time like this when people have lost their jobs and many businesses have closed, are they going for a tax? The school district should cut back its spending and ask people for money when times are better. I’m voting NO.

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