Breaking News: Measure A passes in AUHSD

Margaret Ross, News Editor

Acalanes Union High School District’s parcel tax renewal decision, entitled Measure A, passed yesterday, as the mail-in ballot closed.
The passage of Measure A renews a 2010 parcel tax, set to expire in June 2015, that provides over $3,900,000 to fund academic programs and support services; it will not raise current taxes. This one tax accounts for about 8% of the District’s budget, which is equivalent to 40 teaching positions.
“District-wide it funds 20 to 25 teachers. If the district did not have that money, [Miramonte] could potentially lose six teachers,” Principal Adam Clark said. “Because we have so many robust programs and so many opportunities for students, we offer a seven-period day, which is very expensive. If the district has to cut, that could be an area where they cut as well.”
Since 2007, state funding has been reduced by 22%, leaving many schools under-funded. Even with administration cut to a bare minimum, the District requires community investment to hire and hold teachers and staff in order to maintain the high level of education offered.
“Out of the district’s budget, 85% of the budget is paying for salaries,” Clark said. “So when you have to cut money, you have to cut salaries. It’s not as if people are doing a bad job, it’s basic finance.”
The measure passed with a 68.49% majority: 27,487 votes out of 40,134 total. To pass, Measure A required 66.7% percent of those who vote to be in favor. All registered voters within the AUHSD area were eligible to vote in the election. The parcel does include an exemption for seniors.
“One of the oppositions is that there is no sunset to it. When you do a parcel tax, you do it when times are bad; When the state budget is in flux and there are not a lot of funds coming, a city might go out and say we’re going to do a parcel tax for five year and then after five years it would just go away, but [Measure A] does never end,” Clark said. “The reason there is no sunset is because when there is an election like this, it costs about $150,000. Why do we want to go out every five years to do a parcel tax when we can just do one that doesn’t sunset? If the state starts funding schools, as it should, we can just cut the parcel tax”