Now that the San Bruno Park School Board has decided to place a parcel tax on the November ballot, the big question remains: how much is it going to cost?
Schools trustees discussed the amount at Tuesday's special meeting, but they were unable to come to a final conclusion.
They did make clear, however, that passing the parcel tax is going to take transparency from the district and a community-wide effort.
Trustee Kevin Martinez conceded that many in the community probably don't have a favorable view of the district at the moment because of the . But he said that passing the parcel tax is possible if the district promotes a message of trust along with its efforts to convince voters that the ballot measure is necessary to generate revenue for the schools.
"If anything, there have been trust issues," Martinez said. "I think we have to earn it back."
Trustee Dr. Henry Sanchez said the district has to be proactive about getting community support. The alternative, he said, would not be good for schools.
"The community has to step up," Sanchez said, "or else the board and future boards are going to have to make draconian cuts."
The amount now being proposed for the tax is $200 per parcel annually for seven years, which would generate $1.9 million a year. If the tax, which needs two-thirds support, passed, the revenue would be used to:
- keep neighborhood schools open,
- reduce the number of combination classes throughout the district,
- update curriculum,
- offer more electives at Parkside Middle School, and
- reintroduce a GATE program.
The board disagreed about whether a $200 parcel tax would be too much for residents, especially with the state of the economy. Trustees Sanchez and Skip Henderson were in favor of keeping the amount at $200, while Jim Prescott and Jennifer Blanco said a $100 parcel tax over five years would be better.
A subcommitte, comprised of Sanchez and Martinez, has now be appointed to work on crafting the language for the tax measure. A special board meeting has been called for July 25 to further discuss the issue.
The district has until August 10 to turn in the ballot measure for consideration in the November election.