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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Reader's Poll: A New School Parcel Tax?

The Emery School District is in fiscal trouble owing to state cutbacks and dropping enrollment so the District has begun laying off teachers and other drastic cuts to its operating expenses to make up for its budget shortfall.  Two years ago, Emeryville voters passed Measure J, a $95 million bond (not including financing) for a new schools and community center called the Center of Community Life.  The District is planning on abandoning the newly remodeled Anna Yates Elementary School and sending those children over to the Center of Community Life with the high school kids; a costly option.
If the District agreed to not spend the entire $95 million voters approved in 2010, perhaps voters now would agree to vote for a new parcel tax to help with the operating expenses.  It could be revenue neutral, meaning taxpayers would not be spending more than they agreed to two years ago, essentially a funding shift from the building of facilities to essential operational expenses.

Tattler readers have a chance to weigh in on this for themselves in a reader's poll.  Please consider voting in the poll.  It's located in the right hand column at the top.


  1. I'm not persuaded that another parcel tax is needed. EUSD spends more per student than many similarly-sized, similar-demographic unified school districts in California. I don't know where all the money goes (I suspect to an over-bloated administration earning outsized salaries) but until the District opens up its books and creates a budget committee made up of a majority of teachers and parents whose role would be to recommend alternatives to firing teachers, then I see no reason to trust this School Board with additional parcel tax money. Of course, such a committee should be unnecessary: it's what a School Board is for.

    1. the school board budget is available to the public. in fact, i just received the budget yesterday. it's 208 pages but pertinent information is here. one just has to know how to read and understand them (like corporation financial statements!) it also shows what revenues are/were received from measure a, the school parcel tax passed in 2003. this budget also shows that school board members receive $120 per month stipend.

      i suggest readers obtain this budget, available from the school district office.

  2. To trust or not to trust ... that is the question.

    But it shouldn't be after the sorry track record in Emeryville.

    1. For our future's sake, let's hope our school officials and other civic leaders can successfully address the cynicism that comes across in some of these reader comments.

      It's painful to read about "suspicions" when our judgments can be based on historical record, physical copies of a budget, and concrete, publicly espoused plans for the future.

      In the past 6 years, I've had interactions with city and school officials who are smart, realistic, and committed to working to make Emeryville an even better place than it is now. Whether or not we agree on every specific, we need to embrace these people, try to bring them around to our points of view, and remain open to the possibility that we ought to be brought around to their point of view.

    2. Will, thanks for your comments. That has been my experience too.

    3. That's what really kills me about Michael Webber, and Brian Donahue.
      Everything they complain about is public record.
      Yet they engage in rumor and hyperbole. If they took the time to request the pertinent documents and went through them, they could operate off of facts, and truths.

    4. FYI- I "complain" about all bad public policy whether it's in the public record or not. I can't speak for Mr Webber.

      If the Tattler prints here-say and rumor, it is identified as such.