Palo Alto Pulse occasionally takes a stand on issues that are essential for our community to grow and thrive. Measure A- the 2015 parcel tax renewal– is an effort that deserves support from every facet of the Palo Alto community.
In a recent review of over 14,000 public high schools, Niche.com rated Gunn High School as one of the top 100 schools across the country, and gave Paly an A+ rating. Measure A is crucial for ensuring that PAUSD’s reputation for excellence continues.
The parcel tax, which currently generates $13 million in local funding, needs to be approved by at least 66% of Palo Alto voters every five years or the revenue goes away. In 2010, almost 79% of voters cast a yes ballot for the parcel tax renewal.
Ballots for the 2015 parcel tax renewal- Measure A- are being mailed to Palo Alto homeowners during the week of April 6th, and need to be postmarked by May 5th in order for votes to count.
Here are ten reasons to mark your ballot ‘yes’ for Measure A:
- Parcel tax funds are for only for Palo Alto students: Funds from the parcel tax must be spent to directly benefit PAUSD students. The parcel tax cannot be used for administrators’ salaries, benefits or pensions.
- Small class size matters: Measure A will be used to keep class sizes manageable and ensure that Palo Alto students
have the lowest teacher to student ratio possible.
- Think local: The parcel tax is one of the few sources of unrestricted, local funding for PAUSD that cannot be earmarked for external programs and priorities, and is not subject to the whims of the real estate market or the California economy.
- Irreplaceable funds: The parcel tax currently provides about $13 million every year for Palo Alto public school students, which is about 7% of the overall budget for PAUSD. There are no other sources of funding to replace the parcel tax. If the renewal does not gain approval, about 67 teachers are at risk of getting laid off.
PAUSD students need social emotional support: Measure A includes a small increase ($120 per property per year) that will allow PAUSD to improve and expand its programs that focus on social and emotional support for students. In a world of academic pressure and stress, we should get behind every effort to help Palo Alto students thrive, including staff for counseling and psychological services.
- Libraries are key: Palo Alto is one of the few school districts left in Santa Clara county that has dedicated, full-time librarians in every school, thanks in part to funds from the parcel tax. Research shows that libraries are an essential part of fostering literacy and PAUSD’s librarians are integrated into the academic program in every school.
- High school electives, STEM programs and more: The parcel tax helps pay for high school electives that spark career interest for students, along with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs that prepare kids for careers of today and the future.
- Endorsed by League of Women Voters and local leaders: Measure A has the backing of key community leaders in Palo Alto, including current and past Palo Alto Mayors, Joe Simitian, members of the Palo Alto City Council, PAUSD School Board, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and hundreds of Palo Alto citizens.
- Funding to accommodate enrollment growth: Palo Alto’s student enrollment has grown by over 1,100 in the last six years and is projected to grow by another 700 students over the next five years. More students mean higher costs, yet PAUSD receives no additional state funding for these children. The increase in the parcel tax will bring in about $2 million additional per year to support this growth.
- Citizen oversight and accountability: The parcel tax is monitored by an oversight committee that audits expenditures and reports to the PAUSD School Board to make sure the funds are benefiting Palo Alto students. In addition, seniors 65 and older can apply for an exemption from the parcel tax.
To learn more where the money comes from in Palo Alto schools, check out this resource from Palo Alto Pulse: How Does School Funding Work in Palo Alto?
Look for your Measure A ballot and vote yes by May 5th to ensure continued excellence for all Palo Alto public schools.