TAMALPAIS UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
MEASURE J: To protect high quality education with local funding
that cannot be taken by the State, shall Tamalpais Union
High School District attract and retain highly qualified
teachers, counselors and staff; provide excellent
science, technology, engineering, math, reading /writing
instruction; protect art /music programs; and maintain
small class sizes by levying $149 per parcel, providing
$5.1 million annually for 4 years, with senior exemptions,
annual cost of living adjustments, independent citizens’
oversight and all funds for local high school students?
COUNTY COUNSEL’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE J
TAMALPAIS UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT SPECIAL PARCEL TAX
If this Measure is approved by a 2/3 vote, the Tamalpais
Union High School District will be authorized to levy a
special parcel tax for a period of four years beginning on
November 7, 2018. The Measure states that the amount of
the special parcel tax will be $149 plus an annual cost of
living adjustment of 3%.
The estimated revenue from the tax is approximately
$5.1 million dollars annually. The Measure states that the
purpose of the special parcel tax is to preserve the District’s
level of education with local funding that cannot be taken
by the State.
This special tax is in addition to the qualified special
tax authorized by voters in 2011 (Measure B) and Measure
B will continue to be levied in accordance with its terms.
An exemption from this special tax may be granted on
any parcel owned by one or more persons who is occupying
said parcel as her/his principal place of residence, applies
for the exemption no later than May 1st prior to the tax
year and is: (1) 65 years of age prior to May 1st of the tax
year; or (2) receiving supplemental social security income
for a disability regardless of age; or (3) receiving Social
Security Disability Insurance benefits regardless of age
and meets specific income guidelines (federal). Exemption
applications for the first year of the tax are due on or before
May 1, 2019.
The Measure provides for independent citizen
oversight and all funds are required to be used for local
high school students.
Pursuant to the California Constitution Article XIII
B and applicable laws, the appropriations limit for the
District will be adjusted periodically by the aggregate sum
collected by levy of this qualified special tax.
Marin County Counsel
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE J
Vote YES on J to support our local high schools—Redwood, San Andreas, Sir Francis Drake, Tamalpais and Tamiscal. Every penny from Measure J will be locally-controlled and go directly to preventing budget cuts and maintaining the excellence of our high schools. Strong schools are good for our entire community.
Our high schools offer world-class programs and rank among the best in the country, but student enrollment has increased by almost 30% in the past seven years. Despite having more students, our high schools do not receive additional funding to hire the teachers to serve these students. The added cost of hiring additional teachers along with increasing state-mandated costs has forced our high schools to rely on emergency reserves but these funds will run out soon.
Tamalpais Union High School District has already cut almost $2 million and rigorous scrutiny of the budget continues. Unless we pass Measure J, further severe cuts will be needed, which will be the equivalent of laying off 41 teachers, resulting in increased class sizes and elimination of critical academic programs.
Vote YES on J to:
- Protect high-quality science, technology, engineering, math, reading and writing programs
- Attract and retain high-quality teachers, counselors and staff
- Maintain small class sizes
- Support music and art programs
- Provide career, college preparation and counseling programs
- Maintain school libraries
Fiscal Accountability Is Required:
- All Measure J funds will be controlled locally and stay in our local high schools
- No funds can be taken away by the State
- Measure J cannot be used for administrators’ salaries or benefits
- Independent citizen oversight and annual audits ensure that funds are spent as promised
Supporting outstanding schools protects home values, even if you don’t have school-aged children.
Join parents, teachers, seniors, business owners and community leaders in voting YES on J for local Tamalpais Union High School District students.
s/MARY JANE BURKE
Marin County Superintendent of Schools
Mill Valley Vice Mayor and 30+ Year Mill Valley Resident
25-Year Science Teacher Redwood High School
Drake High School Parent
Mayor of Tiburon, Local Realtor, and 36-Year Tiburon Resident
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE J
It seems like déjà vu all over again. Like the last one, this property tax increase will help developers get more high-density building permits and little else. With more school capacity developers will seek more.
Maybe you planned to vote against the last one but felt pressured into supporting it after you read one of their campaign pieces threatening massive layoffs if you didn’t.
But your last “YES” vote solved nothing and here’s why. Unelected Sacramento bureaucrats and regional planners are forcing high-density housing (that does not generate adequate revenue) in Marin despite local opposition. Existing homeowners are expected to pay for this unfunded mandate.
Instead of gouging taxpayers, we can address Marin’s housing needs by electing officials that respond to local concerns, not special interests.
There are other ways to cut costs besides firing teachers. School employees are better compensated than those privately employed. Their health and retirement benefit costs are skyrocketing and are guaranteed by taxpayers, unlike non-government employees. Instead of negotiating better rates, the Board caves in knowing they can pass it on to taxpayers. This is unsustainable.
The recent school construction [$400 million including interest] experienced significant cost overruns we are still paying for. The Board paid off $145,000 to a superintendent who resigned. They’re paying an expensive marketing firm, Godbe, to tell you how wisely they spend YOUR money.
The schools will remain good, whether you give them more of your hard-earned money or not. Don’t buy their fear-mongering.
Vote “NO” on J
ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE J
Supporters of this measure want to raise the parcel tax by 53% to pay for a projected 25% increase in enrollment over the next five years.
Why are existing homeowners being asked to subsidize this? Because many of the new students are coming from high-density developments, such as Tam Ridge (WinCup) that are often taxed as a single entity. HIGH DENSITY DEVELOPMENTS DO NOT PAY FOR THEMSELVES.
Most communities in Marin oppose these developments that strain services and worsen traffic. However, Marin officials remain under unrelenting pressure from Sacramento and regional planners.
We are nowhere near paying off hundreds of millions of dollars of bonds used to increase capacity in Tamalpais District schools.
The School Board claims it spends your money wisely, but just recently paid a $145,000 severance package to a beleaguered superintendent who resigned.
Years of operating deficits have not motivated the Board to address the growing pension crisis. Rather than stand up to union bosses, they expect you to rubber stamp this tax. Voting for yet another tax won’t make the Board better stewards of YOUR money.
Look at your property tax bill, especially the add-on parcel taxes. They nearly double it. These are regressive taxes, as the one-bedroom condo owner pays the same as a mansion in Kentfield or the owner of a shopping mall, or apartment complex.
These tax increases add to the high cost of living that is forcing working families to leave Marin.
There is also a transportation tax on the ballot to mitigate congestion created by policies that fueled development. More taxes followed by more development which require more taxes.
It’s time to get off the treadmill. Reject measures that accelerate the urbanization of Marin. Reject irresponsible leadership. It’s up to YOU, not the politicians.
Vote “NO” on J
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE J
The lone opponent is clearly frustrated with how the State of California funds local schools. We share these frustrations but also understand that voting “no” on this measure does nothing to solve these statewide problems. Voting “no” only punishes our local students and puts the outstanding quality of education in local high schools at risk.
He also has his facts wrong. Here’s the truth:
- Retirement benefits for teachers and school employees are set by the State. The amount local school districts must contribute toward these pensions is set by Sacramento and cannot be changed locally.
- Our school district has already tightened its belt. Almost $2 million has been cut and more cuts will continue even if Measure J passes.
- Years of careful fiscal management provided emergency reserve funds to prevent the most devastating cuts to educational programs. However, reserves are running out and deep cuts will be required without Measure J.
- Measure J is short-term for four years only. It cannot be renewed without approval of 66.7% of voters.
- No Measure J funds can go to administrator salaries or pensions. Every penny is locally-controlled and will go directly to the classroom.
- Seniors and low-income homeowners are eligible for an exemption to ensure it’s not a burden to those on fixed incomes.
Without Measure J, our schools will face devastating cuts that will force teacher layoffs and reductions in the educational programming that makes our high schools among the best in the nation.
Please vote YES on J to protect our outstanding local high schools.
s/ROBERT F. CANEPA
Retired Local Businessman, 60+ yr. Resident of Mill Valley
s/WILLIAM R. FRIEDRICH
Attorney, 25-yr. Resident of Marin
Tiburon Council Member and 22-yr. Resident of Tiburon
Former Superintendent Tamalpais Union High School District
s/JOHN B. WEINGART
Retired VP Financial Services, 42-year Kentfield Resident
FULL TEXT OF MEASURE J
TAMALPAIS UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT ACADEMICS AND TEACHER PROTECTION MEASURE
Tamalpais Union High School District is proud to have some of the highest-rated public high schools in the country with a better than 95% graduation rate. Our schools—Redwood, San Andreas, Sir Francis Drake, Tamalpais and Tamiscal High Schools—have excellent teachers, counselors and staff who provide quality science, technology, engineering, math, reading and writing instruction.
Our schools, however, are facing unprecedented enrollment growth. In the past seven years alone, student enrollment has increased by almost 30% and is expected to continue to climb. At the same time, funding supporting our schools has not kept pace. We are a community-funded district, which means that we do not receive additional funding as more students attend our schools. We cannot rely on the State to provide the funding that our schools need.
To accommodate our growing student enrollment, the District is currently using over $7 million in reserves. These reserves are running out and, without additional funding, the District will have to lay off teachers and make cuts to academic programs.
Our schools have already made $2 million in cuts and will need to cut an additional $6 million more. Cuts of this magnitude would have a direct impact on the classroom and would be the equivalent of laying off over 41 teachers, increasing class sizes and cutting academic and enrichment programs.
Measure J will prevent the most devastating cuts to our classrooms and help protect the quality of education in our high schools. Every penny will stay in our community and independent citizens’ oversight will help ensure funds are spent as promised. No funds can go to administrator salaries or benefits.
To protect high quality education with local funding that cannot be taken by the State, shall Tamalpais Union High School District attract and retain highly qualified teachers, counselors and staff; provide excellent science, technology, engineering, math, reading /writing instruction; protect art /music programs; and maintain small class sizes by levying $149 per parcel, providing $5.1 million annually for 4 years, with senior exemptions, annual cost of living adjustments, independent citizens’ oversight and all funds for local high school students?
Moneys raised under this Measure shall be authorized to be used only for the following purposes in accordance with priorities established by the Board and to the extent of available funds:
- To provide high quality education,
- To attract and retain highly qualified teachers, counselors and staff
- To provide excellent science, technology, engineering, math, reading, writing, art and music instruction
- To maintain small class sizes
No funds will be spent on administrative salaries or benefits.
A. Amount, Basis, & Collection of Tax
Beginning November 7, 2018, the Tamalpais Union High School District (“District”) shall be authorized to levy an annual qualified special tax of $149 per parcel on all assessor’s parcels. The authorization to levy this qualified special tax shall expire on June 30, 2022. It is the intent of the voters that the tax be levied immediately following its adoption until June 30, 2022, unless extended by voters. Beginning on July 1, 2019, the rate of the qualified special tax shall be increased by three (3) percent every year to account for increases in the cost of living.
This qualified special tax is estimated to raise $5.1 million in annual local funding for District schools. The amount of annual local funding raised by this qualified special tax will vary from year-to-year due to changes in the number of parcels subject to the levy and the cost of living increase.
An amount equal to the amount of the qualified special tax accruing from November 7, 2018 to June 30, 2019 ($95.93) shall be billed by the County Tax Collector on the regular tax bill issued for the 2019-2020 tax year, in addition to the amount of the qualified special tax due for the 2019-2020 tax year.
This qualified special tax shall be in addition to the qualified special tax authorized by voters as “Measure B” in November 2011 and the tax so authorized by Measure B shall continue to be levied in accordance with its terms.
Under procedures adopted by the District, an exemption from payment of the special tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons who is/are:
- An individual who will attain 65 years of age prior to May 1 of the tax year and occupying said parcel as his or her principal residence (“Senior Citizen Exemption”); or,
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age, and occupying said parcel as his or her principal residence (“SSI Exemption”); or
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, whose yearly income does not exceed 250 percent of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and occupying said parcel as his or her principal residence (“SSDI Exemption”).
Exemptions may be granted based on a one-time application received by the District no later than May 1 prior to the tax year. Applications received by May 1, 2019 shall qualify applicants for exemption from any tax amount associated with the 2018-19 tax year. Exemptions granted under prior special taxes levied by the District will not require re-approval, subject to the District’s right to verify a property owner’s continuing qualification for exemption.
The District shall annually provide to the Marin County Tax Collector (“County Tax Collector”) or other appropriate County official a list of parcels that the District has approved for an exemption.
C. Claims / Exemption Procedures
With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the County Tax Collector or other appropriate County tax official shall make all final determinations of tax exemption or relief for any reason, and that decision shall be final and binding. With respect to matters specific to the levy of the special tax including any exemptions, the application of the qualified special tax to any parcel(s), the legality or validity of the special tax, or any other disputed matter specific to the application of the special tax, the decisions of the District shall be final and binding. The procedures described herein, and any additional procedures established by the Board shall be the exclusive claims procedure for claimants seeking an exemption, refund, reduction, or re-computation of the special tax. Whether any particular claim is to be resolved by the District or by the County shall be determined by the District, in coordination with the County as necessary.
D. Appropriations Limit
Pursuant to California Constitution Article XIIIB and applicable laws, the appropriations limit for the District will be adjusted periodically by the aggregate sum collected by levy of this qualified special tax.
E. Mandatory Accountability Protections
- Specific Purposes. The proceeds of the special tax shall be applied only to the specific purposes identified above. The proceeds of the special tax shall be deposited into a fund, which shall be kept separate and apart from other funds of the District.
- Annual Reports. No later than December 31 of each year while the tax is in effect, the District shall prepare and file with the Board a report detailing the amount of funds collected and expended, and the status of any project authorized to be funded by this Measure. The report may relate to the calendar year, fiscal year, or other appropriate annual period, and may be incorporated into or filed with the annual budget, audit, or other appropriate routine report to the Board.
- Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee. The Board shall provide for the creation of an independent citizens’ oversight committee to oversee expenditure of the funds collected pursuant to the Measure to ensure that moneys raised under this Measure are spent only for the purposes described in this Measure. The Board shall provide for the composition, duties, and other necessary information regarding the committee’s formation and operation.
F. Annual Plan
Beginning with expenditures for the 2019-2020 school year, an expenditure plan (the “Proposed Annual Plan”) shall be developed annually, on or before June 30, for the succeeding fiscal year by the District staff. The Proposed Annual Plan will recommend expenditures of the tax proceeds that are consistent with the intent of the Funding Measure. The assumptions associated with the recommended expenditures shall be included in the Proposed Annual Plan. The Proposed Annual Plan shall be presented for Board action each fiscal year in conjunction with the District’s annual budget adoption process for the subsequent fiscal year. To facilitate public discussion, the Proposed Annual Plan shall be made available for public review.
G. Protection of Funding
Current law forbids any decrease in State or federal funding to the District resulting from the adoption of qualified special tax. However, if any such funding is reduced or affected because of the adoption of this local funding measure, then the Board may reduce the amount of the special taxes levied as necessary in order to restore such State or federal funding and/or maximize the District’s fiscal position for the benefit of the educational program. As a result, whether directly or indirectly, no funding from this measure may be taken away by the State or federal governments.
The Board hereby declares, and the voters by approving this Measure concur, that every section and part of this Measure has independent value, and the Board and the voters would have adopted each provision hereof regardless of every other provision hereof. Upon approval of this Measure by the voters, should any part of the Measure be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, all remaining parts of the Measure hereof shall remain in full force and effect to the fullest extent allowed by law.