In November, residents can weigh in on Measure B, a local measure to renew a tax on long-standing plots to help pay the salaries of some teachers in the Los Gatos Union school district.
Measure B proposes to renew and slightly increase a plot tax that has existed for 30 years. If approved, the tax would be set at $ 335 per plot – an increase of $ 45 from the current rate – which would bring in about $ 3.2 million per year in funding for local schools. The tax would be adjusted annually for inflation and expire in eight years.
The amount of the tax has remained stable for more than 20 years, without adjustment for inflation. This means that the real value to the district has declined over time: the tax used to fund the salaries of more than 50 teachers; it currently provides salaries for 23 teachers, or 15% of the district’s total staff.
“This is the single largest financial measure to come to the district in 20 years,” Los Gatos Union School District Superintendent Paul Johnson said. âIt’s just a crucial crossroads.
Supporters of Measure B include the Mayor of Los Gatos, Marico Sayoc, as well as Claudia Rossi, president of the Santa Clara County School Board,
A letter of opposition has been filed with the city by representatives of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association, a local group that opposes tax increases across South Bay. The group also opposes a Berryessa Union Elementary School District Plot Tax of $ 79 and a Menlo Park City School District Plot Tax of $ 598, both also put to a vote in November.
Ryan Rosenberg, local parent and co-chair of a local committee campaigning for Measure B, said the parcel tax is the largest source of locally controlled funding for schools in Los Gatos. He specifies that the number of salaries funded by the tax is equivalent to the number of teachers in one of the four elementary schools in the district.
The measure includes exemptions for the elderly, who can opt out of the plot tax by filling out a form on the district’s website. It also requires a citizens ‘watchdog to ensure that the land tax funds are only used to cover teachers’ salaries.
Compared to other districts in South Bay, the Los Gatos Union School District package tax is quite low. The Palo Alto Unified School District has a package tax rate of $ 836, while that of Mill Valley is $ 1,373.
âLos Gatos has been pretty restrained in its demand by schools to its citizens over the years, and that’s good, but it’s really starting to bite,â Rosenberg said.
As a basic aid district, Los Gatos Union receives little state funding, as its revenue from local property taxes exceeds what it would receive under the state funding formula. Without the plot tax and donation tax funding, Rosenberg said, the district’s per-student funding would actually fall below the state average.
Parcel taxes at Los Gatos must be passed by a two-thirds majority, which means defenders are working with very slim margins.
âOne of the reasons people are so proud of our city is that we have great schools,â Rosenberg said. âIt’s worrying to me that a lot of people take this for granted, and they feel like if they’re great now, they always will be. Well, they will if we support them.
Superintendent Johnson said the quality of the school is an important factor for people wishing to move to Los Gatos, and it is not uncommon for the district to receive international calls from people making sure they are buying homes. within the boundaries of the district.
âGreat schools make great communities, and I think the city is realizing it,â Johnson said.
Ballots will be sent out from October 4 and can be returned until November 2. All registered voters who live within school district boundaries will be able to vote on the measure.