The Ross School District, seeking its first plot tax renewal in eight years, is asking voters for a 32% increase from the current rate.
Measure C of the November 8 ballot would set the tax at $1,550 in the first year with annual increases of 3%. The proposed duration is 10 years.
Proponents estimate the tax will generate about $1.27 million a year. The rate for the 2022-23 tax year is $1,175 per package, generating approximately $942,000.
The district’s annual budget is $10,024,387 for its campus alone, Ross School. The school has about 360 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Yes to C, the Campaign for Passing the Measure, says the district needs funds to support high-quality academic programs; recruit and retain teachers; maintain low student/teacher ratios; support arts education and technology; maintaining the campus; and offset state budget cuts.
The campaign says the parcel tax provides 10% of the district’s revenue. Property taxes provide 57%; the state, 10%; the school foundation, 15%; the federal government, 2%; and other sources, 6%.
“I’m proud to lead the only 2021 National Blue Ribbon Award-winning public school in Marin, where I’ve seen the direct impact of our amazing staff in creating great school programs for our students,” said David Rice, District Superintendent. “As the measure outlines, it will renew local funding essential to sustaining quality education in our district for years to come.”
The proposed tax hike, while steep, might not be too much for many Ross residents. The estimated median annual household income in the city is $220,714, according to the US Census Bureau. So far this year, homes in Ross have sold for monthly median prices ranging from $3.175 million to nearly $7.1 million, the county assessor’s office reported.
Measure C would extend a tax on school parcels that was first approved in 1989. Its most recent extension, as Measure E in 2014, passed with a nearly 76% majority. The opposition was 301 out of 1,231 votes.
“Ross School is highly dependent on local funding,” said Chris Ericksen, chairman of the Ross School District Board. “For more than 30 years, residents have supported a school package tax, a cornerstone of our community.”
The Measure E fee is due to expire on June 30. Measure C, like its predecessor, requires a two-thirds majority for its adoption.
The measure provides an exemption for residents aged 65 and over. Ross has about 2,340 residents in 852 households, and 27% are 65 or older, according to the US Census Bureau.