The La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District board indicated its interest in preparing a new parcel tax measure for the March 2020 general election and plans to vote on a resolution at a special board meeting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5.
The current tax, set at $100 per parcel, has funded the district’s music and drama program, a food and garden instructor at La Honda Elementary School, the extended day program at Pescadero High School and other academic programming at all schools, according to the district’s parcel tax report from the last fiscal year.
Measure N, passed in 2013, is set to expire at the end of June 2020. It collects about $200,000 a year for the district. There is an exemption for seniors, and people who own contiguous parcels do not have to pay a separate tax for each adjacent parcel.
“We desperately need funding,” board member Lynne Bowman said.
The new tax would likely extend for another seven years, and the board discussed asking voters to approve a new amount adjusted for inflation, which the board determined could be around $125 to $130. The current tax is the fourth lowest in the county.
“As a homeowner, I think inflation is a fair way to go,” board clerk Cindy Hayes said. “I don’t think it’s fair for us to just arbitrarily pull a number out.”
If the board decides to put the measure on the March 2020 ballot, the board members will need to vote on a resolution before Dec. 6. Superintendent Amy Wooliever estimates it would cost the district about $3,000. A special election could cost thousands of dollars more.
Board members also discussed the possibility of hiring a consultant to help with the campaign. The cost of a consultant was estimated to be $18,000 to $25,000.
For the 2019-20 fiscal year, the board will spend almost $212,500 in parcel tax receipts.
The lion’s share of the money is going toward the district-wide music program, with about $68,700 covering a part-time teacher, supplies, equipment repairs and more. Literacy intervention is expected to receive a little less than $49,000. It also provides specific sums for each school for academic enrichment and academic achievement.
At the special meeting on Dec. 5, the board will vote on a resolution to determine whether to authorize putting the tax on the ballot in March.