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February 10, 2010 > Parcel tax for Milpitas schools

Parcel tax for Milpitas schools

By Meenu Gupta

An election will be held on June 8, 2010 for acceptance of Milpitas Unified High School District (MUSD) parcel tax. According to the school district's website, if the parcel tax Measure is successful, MUSD can expect to receive between $1.26M to $1.43M each year for five years, beginning December 2010.

The tax will be levied on all parcels of taxable real property in the District. An exemption will be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons aged 65 years or older.

"It depends upon how many parcels actually pay. We're asking for $84 a year per parcel at this time. There are about 17,000 parcels in our school district, the senior exemption and, of course, some people who just don't pay," says Board of Education Vice President Michael Mendizabal who estimates 15,000 parcels will pay and generate $1.3M - $1.6M annually.

According to the Measure's ballot text, an annual parcel tax of $84 for five years will help protect local schools from state budget cuts; provide revenue to stabilize local school funding; help maintain existing math, science, engineering, arts, music, athletic programs and smaller class sizes; and help prevent reduction in classroom instruction days. Parcel tax funds shall be used to support educational programs and projects such as helping to maintain math, science and engineering programs; maintain smaller class sizes; ensuring adequate student supervision and safety at all schools; maintaining existing athletics, art and music programs and preventing reduction in days of classroom instruction.

"It [parcel tax] is something that we need to continue offering students a quality education. It not only affects the students, it affects the whole community," concluded Mendizabal.

Milpitas City Council voted 4-1 to adopt Vice Mayor Pete McHugh's recommendation for a resolution of support for the MUSD parcel tax Measure on February 2. Councilor Giordano fully supports the school district but is against the Measure. She feels a flat-fee parcel tax is inequitable because there is there is no differentiation between private individual or corporation, as owner, or parcel size.

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