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Monday, February 16, 2015

Local Activist Uncovers Gross Negligence on the Part of Emery Unified School District

"Slipshod Protocol" on School Parcel Tax

The Emery Unified School District has had a long history of failure to notify Emeryville's fixed income senior citizens of their rights regarding special school property taxes and trying to get them to do right by our elder citizens has been a near full time job for Emeryville senior citizen activist Shirley Enomoto.   Ms Enomoto's main complaint is that the School District has been derelict in it's duty to properly inform seniors when they are able to opt out of paying property taxes for a series of parcel taxes meant to augment the District's operating budget as voted on by residents over the years.   In a recent E-mail to District Superintendent John Rubio, Ms Enomoto now brings fresh charges against the District of "gross errors" in what she says is "another example of lacking and slipshod protocol for the senior exemption."

 The parcel taxes designated to help Emeryville's schools, passed by Emeryville residents were former Measure A in 2003, an extension of the Measure A from an election a couple of years ago and Measure K in 2014.  They all allow for property taxes to be levied for a list of school improvements.  There is a sentence in last November's Measure K language stating, "Senior Exemption- Any one application for a qualified applicant will provide an exemption for the remaining term of the parcel tax so long as such applicant continues to use the parcel for his or her principle residence."  Ms Enomoto checked the language from the previous Measure A parcel tax and found the exact same sentence.  The problem is that the District, for those years when Measure A was in effect, repeatedly told all Emeryville seniors they had to re-apply every year (or two) for the exemption, in direct contradiction to the actual law.  Ms Enomoto at the time believed the District's false claim about the need for seniors to re-apply annually or bi-anually but ironically engaged in a battle with them for notification requirements for seniors' right to seek an exemption every year, a burden that proved too onerous for the District.

Measure K's language is nearly identical to Measure A insofar as it addresses property owners but Ms Enomoto also notes Superintendent Rubio removed language in Measure K, extant in Measure A, that would have protected seniors that are renters.  The sentence voters approved in Measure A  but taken out of Measure K is, "in addition, should state law ever permit, there should be an exemption for property exclusively rented or leased to those 65 years and older."
The District has not said why they have retracted this privilege to seniors that rent.

Ms Enomoto told the Tattler the School District charged the taxpayers to retain legal advice for the implementation of Measure A and for the District to falsely tell seniors they must re-apply for the exemption constitutes a breach of trust, "conniving" she called it.  She indicated she will be closely watching the District moving forward with Measure K.

Measure K has an expiration date of July 1, 2037.

1 comment:

  1. Thank You Shirley for paying attention to details. You are a great citizen, and I appreciate all that you do for the residents of this city.
    Thank you again,
    Ruth Major