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School Board Forwards Parcel Tax

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh3jcI6AwPA

Video published July 16, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: City schools want a parcel tax to help fund classroom instruction. What will it cost, how will it work and will voters support it?

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

THE SCHOOL BOARD VOTED THIS WEEK TO PUT A PARCEL TAX ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT. NOW, SAN DIEGOANS WILL DECIDE WHETHER THEY ARE WILLING TO PAY TO HELP COVER THE COST OF CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION. HERE TO EXPLAIN THE DETAILS OF THE PROPOSED TAX IS KPBS EDUCATION REPORTER ANNA TINTOKOLAS. HOW DOES THE PARCEL TAX WORK?

IT'S A FLAT FLEE FEE THAT'S LEVIED ON RESIDENTS OF THE CITY. SO THE MONEY LEVIED FROM RESIDENTS WILL GO DIRECTLY INTO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT. IT WILL NOT BE TOUCHED BY SACRAMENTO LAWMAKERS, WHICH IS A PLUS FOR THE DISTRICT, AND IT WILL PUMP ROUGHLY $58 MILLION A YEAR INTO THE DISTRICT TO SUPPORT DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS. WHAT'S DIFFERENT WITH A PARCEL TAX AS OPPOSED TO A SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND IS IT'S DIRECTLY FOR WHATEVER IT TAKES TO PROVIDE INSTRUCTION WITHIN A CLASSROOM. SO IT CAN PAY FOR BOOKS AND SUPPLIES, IT CAN PAY FOR TEACHER SALARIES, IT CAN PAY TO HELP SUPPORT ACADEMIC PROGRAMS.

OKAY. WELL, THAT SOUNDS LIKE IT MIGHT SOLVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS. WHAT ARE THE CRITICISMS ABOUT THIS KIND OF TAX?

THE BIG CRITICISM RIGHT NOW IS THEY CALL IT A REGRESSIVE TAX, MEANING IT'S AN UNFAIR TAX BECAUSE A FAMILY WILL BE PAYING THE SAME FLAT TAX A REALLY STRUGGLING LOW INCOME FAMILY. SO THERE'S NO DIFFERENCE THERE. THERE'S ALSO A LOT OF PEOPLE ARNTED VERY TRUSTWORTHY OF THE DISTRICT ITSELF WHEN IT COMES TO SPENDING TAXPAYER MONEY. THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF HESITANCY AROUND GIVING THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ALL THIS MONEY TO, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE SAYING THEY ARE AFRAID THE DISTRICT WONT SPEND IT WISELY. SO THOSE ARE THE TWO BIGGEST CONCERNS.

YOU TALKED ABOUT IT BEING A REGRESSIVE TAX. HOW MUCH ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

THE SCHOOL BOARD VOTE D THIS WEEK TO HAVE SINGLE FAMILY HOMES, BASICALLY YOUR FAMILY, ABOUT $98 A YEAR. OWNERS OF APARTMENTS OR CONDOMINIUMS WILL BE PAYING ABOUT $60 PER UNIT THEY OWN.

THIS IS PER YEAR.

YES, AND OWNERS OF INDUSTRIAL OR COMMERCIAL SPACES WILL BE PAYING $450 A YEAR. SO THAT'S KIND OF A SLIDING SCALE, BUT THAT'S HOW IT IS WORKING OUT SO FAR.

FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUSPICIOUS ABOUT WHETHER THE DISTRICT WOULD USE IT FOR WHAT IT'S SUPPOSED TO USE IT FOR, HOW FLEXIBLE IS THE DISTRICT IN TERMS OF WHAT IT COULD USE IT FOR?

RIGHT. WELL, THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS WITH PARCEL TAXES, WHEN YOU PUT IT FORTH WITH THE VOTERS, YOU HAVE TO BE SPECIFIC ABOUT WHERE THIS MONEY IS GOING. IT IS NOT FLEXIBLE. ONCE YOU COMMIT THE DOLLARS TO WHATEVER PROGRAM YOU WANT TO SUPPORT, YOU CAN'T MOVE IT AROUND. IN SAN DIEGO UNIFIED, WHAT THEY WANT THE MONEY TO GO TO IS TEACHER SALARIES, EMPLOYEE SALARIES, WHICH WILL HELP CREATE SMALLER CLASS SIZES. HER HOPING THE MONEY WILL GO TO --THEY ARE HOPING THAT THE MONEY WILL GO TO SUPPORT MATH AND SCIENCE EDUCATION WHICH HAS BEEN CUT OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, AND TECHNOLOGY.

THE CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO WAS SUCCESSFUL AT PASSING A PARCEL TAX IN 2008. HOW IS THAT TAX BENEFITTED THE SCHOOL DISTRICT THERE?

RIGHT, SO SAN FRANCISCO IS THE ONLY LARGE URBAN SCHOOL DISTRICT TO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PASSED A PARCEL TAX IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. IT'S REALLY HARD TO PASS THESE TAXES BECAUSE YOU NEED A TWO THIRDS VOTE TO GET THEM PASSED. THAT'S VERY HARD TO DO. BUT IN SAN FRANCISCO, THIS WAS BEFORE THE KIND OF ECONOMIC SITUATION HIT THE STATE, AND WHAT THEY WANTED THEIR MONEY TO GO TOWARDS IS TEACHER SALARIES, INCENTIVES, BONUSES, MERIT INCREASES BECAUSE THEY WERE HAVING A HARD TIME HOLDING ON TO THEIR TEACHERS. WHAT THEY FOUND IS THAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY RECRUITING A LOT OF TEACHERS NOW BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY BENEFITS NOW FOR TEACHERS BECAUSE OF THE PARCEL TAX. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, BECAUSE IT IS SO TARGETED, THEY CAN'T USE THAT MONEY FOR OTHER CUTS THAT HAVE COME DOWN THE LINE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, ANNA.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

Comments

Avatar for user 'LaLucha'

LaLucha | July 17, 2010 at 11:16 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

This should be called "THE SCHOOLBOARD AND ADMINISTRATION SPENDS ALL THE PUBLIC MONEY ON THEMSELVES AND WANTS TO BLAME IT ON THE TEACHERS AGAIN" TAX. There is enough money to run a school system WITHOUT THE OVERPAID SCHOOLBOARD/SUPERINTENDENT system we have been using all these decades. How do we get rid of this overspending group of wannabe politicians? We are paying for their 100 percent healthcare until they die, and some of them have only served a couple of years! Come ON. Why can't we just make a PANEL of experienced educators to run the district, and just pay them the same as teachers and give them the same healthcare? NO SUPERINTENDENT!!! THAT is where all the public money goes.. to support this archaic, inneffective system. DUH!!!

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Avatar for user 'hiebelh'

hiebelh | July 17, 2010 at 12:50 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

why not let the people pay for each student they send to public school.
when i went to school in minnesota the farmers had to pay for the schools that they sent their children too.
Why burden the the people who do not have children in school or home school or private school.
I say enough of this adding a tax onto all the other taxs we already pay. let them live with what they get like everybody else.
I do agree that the school district is too top heavy cut the high paid executives and they could fund the schools lick they should

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