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February 18, 2011 > Measure B - New Haven Unified Parcel Tax proposal

Measure B - New Haven Unified Parcel Tax proposal

By Suzanne Ortt

New Haven Unified Board of Education, on February 1, officially voted to place a parcel tax initiative before the voters.

The vote will be by mail-in ballot on May 3, 2011. The tax proposed is $15 per month per parcel, which is $180 annually. If approved, this tax will be on the property tax bills. Those 65 years of age or older and those with proven disabilities will be exempt from the tax.

The Board of Education adopted Measure B, the parcel tax proposal to offset some of the proposed budget cuts that the district will face due to California's budget crisis. A citizens' oversight committee will be formed to review spending. Furthermore, no money from the parcel tax can be used for administrators' salaries. After four years, the tax will expire.

Measure B requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters will begin sending out the ballots to registered voters on April 4. Voters may return their completed ballots immediately. The deadline is 8 p.m. on May 3. Ballots may be returned by mail or returned in person to the Registrar of Voters, 1225 Fallon Street, Oakland, CA 94612. The telephone number is (510) 272-6973.

If approved, the tax will raise approximately $3 million per year. The Board of Education states the funds are needed to preserve quality instruction time, minimize class size increases and reductions to the school year, and maintain educational and after-school activities. These activities include band, sports, speech and debate, drama, color guard, and more.

A committee, Taking Care of our Kids, is organizing to promote passage of the parcel task. Richard Valle is the chair. Valle said, "This campaign has to be a grass roots effort. We as a community need to carry the load for our children because the state politicians aren't getting it done. The community has helped our police and firemen; it is now time to help our kids."

At the first organizing meeting on Monday, February 7, fifty volunteers signed up. Additionally, student leaders will do voter registration, with emphasis on high school students who will be eligible to vote in time for the May 3 deadline. Thus far, financial contributions for the campaign total $20,000.

To reiterate, Measure B, if passed, will provide $3 million per year to the school district. These funds will be used to maintain school quality.

For more campaign information call (510) 471-4714.

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