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Mill Valley School District Parcel Tax Prevails

After a methodical campaign for a $196 parcel tax to support education in Mill Valley, the measure passed with 73.6 percent of the vote.

After months of fundraising, lawn signs, mailers, phone banks, rallying on street corners and more, supporters of the Measure B parcel tax whooped and shared hugs as it garnered 73.6 percent of the vote as the final tallies came in late Tuesday night.

“We worked for every vote that we got, and we’re grateful for every vote we received,” said campaign coordinator Mari Allen.

The $196 parcel tax, on top of the existing $731 parcel tax, helps combat the Mill Valley School District’s looming budget deficit. Parents, teachers, administrators and many residents lined up behind the ballot measure, which prevents cuts to educational programs and retains quality staff.

The district has taken a “shared sacrifice” approach to avoid cuts as teachers took the first of two furlough days in October, and agreed to paying a higher percentage of medical coverage costs, in exchange for a one-time payment of between $248 and $497 to help cover rising premiums.

"Thank you to the people of Mill Valley for supporting the schools and putting education and children first, and know that this is so important and necessary for our school district," Allen said. "We're so thrilled."

Measure B supporters were worried at the daunting task of winning the approval of the 80 percent of voters in Mill Valley who don’t have children in schools. They were ecstatic to receive well above the 66.67 percent majority necessary for the measure to pass.

"The fact that only 20 percent of voters have kids in the district just shows," said Emily Uhlhorn, who’s home served as the campaign headquarters. "It's not about just parents voting yes, it's about valuing education and valuing kids. This is a validation of what Mill Valley cares about, what the district has done, and what teachers have sacrificed."

As the polls closed, Uhlhorn's house was packed with people waiting to hear the results. But as the night grew on and kids grew sleepy, parents slowly filtered out, leaving a committed crowd of about a dozen that included Mill Valley Superintendent Paul Johnson, school board member member Raoul Wertz and volunteer Suzi Glaubitz, who dressed in a bumble bee costume to show her support for Measure B.

“The district is very grateful for the tremendous campaign that was put together,” Johnson said.

In the final moments, everyone obsessively checked their phones for updated results, which were marked with a loud cheer from Uhlhorn when they finally came through just as President Barack Obama was ending his acceptance speech.

“This truly has been a group effort,” Uhlhorn said. “Thank you to Mill Valley. And go Obama.”

Here's more 2012 Election news on Patch:

  1. Marin Voters OK Sales Tax Hike for Open Spaces
  2. Barack Obama Re-Elected President
  3. California Election Results 2012: Voters Split on Propositions
  4. California Election Results 2012: POTUS, Federal, State Races
  5. Patch Election Day Photos from Around the Country
  6. Patch and AOL Send Hurricane Sandy Relief Trucks to Long Island and New Jersey
Magoo November 07, 2012 at 02:14 PM
The leeches bankrolled their way to a win.
Jim Welte November 07, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Leeches? There's no place for name-calling like that here, Citizen. Please tone it down.
A Day Well Lived November 07, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Thank you, Mill Valley, for OVERWHELMINGLY passing Measure B and voting to protect, not only our schools, but our entire community. YES ON B is a victory for everyone in Mill Valley. A great day, indeed! Now we can focus on the really important work - educating our kids!
Scott November 07, 2012 at 04:26 PM
The argument for the tax was we cannot rely on the state tax increases to pass. Well they did too so will MVSD now rescind it's tax? If not what are they going to do with the excess funding they now have?
Citizen November 07, 2012 at 04:45 PM
The proper way to hold an election based on an increase the tax on a parcel is to let the parcel vote, i.e. there are perhaps 12,000 taxable parcels in the MVSD, way more than the number of votes. Each parcel gets one vote and only one vote. That way a couple living in a house get only 1 vote, which is the way it should be since they pay only one tax. Of course there will be substantial voting from people who do not live in the MVSD. Whoever is subject to the tax should have a say. If a parcel tax measure still passes, so be it.
A Day Well Lived November 07, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Joe - while you make an interesting point about the one vote per parcel, it was an open election and anyone who is subject to the tax had a right to vote to have their say. Yes on B certainly wasn't a secret!
Citizen November 07, 2012 at 06:03 PM
No, there are many, many people who own taxable parcels who do not live within the MVSD, those with rental property for example. They could not vote on this.
A Day Well Lived November 07, 2012 at 07:46 PM
That's the system...and perhaps you're even right that it needs to be changed. But it passed withthe system we have. Measure B passed. Obama won. Prop 30 passed. Now it's time to move forward with these results and find ways to work together.
Scott November 07, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Who gets taxed is fairly irrelevant as now we're being double taxed for the same thing. The question remains: now that MVSD is going to be overfunded, what are they going to do with the extra money? Will they rescind their tax?
CKC CKC November 08, 2012 at 08:54 PM
It is not clear to me that MVSD will be over funded. The MVSD receives limited funds from the state. We are what is called a "Basic Aid District." We do NOT receive funding from the state. All funding for local schools comes from local property taxes. More info on the different ways different CA districts are funded can be found here: http://www.edsource.org/iss_fin_sys_revlimits.html
Scott November 08, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Then why did they say they needed the money to replace what they're losing from the state? It's right there as their first argument for the tax: http://www.protectmvschools.org/
MVresident November 08, 2012 at 09:35 PM
MVSD used to receive money from the state. As a Basic Aid District, over the past 5 years they've had to "give back" about $4.2 million and now no longer receive state money for general operating expenses.
Scott November 08, 2012 at 09:41 PM
So with the governor saying the new state sales tax will restore that funding to the schools, it would seem MVSD is now set up to receive excess funding.Shouldn't they, therefore, rescind the parcel tax? I mean, that was one of their chief arguments for the tax - that we cannot rely on the state tax increases passing. Now that the state tax increase has passed, shouldn't they rescind the parcel tax? Do you have to go through another election to rescind a parcel tax?
MVresident November 08, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I'll believe that we'll get all that money when I see it. Do you know how much the state owes the public schools? Figure that one out....it's BILLIONS of dollars!
Jim Welte November 09, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Scott, we'll be following up with a story on Monday about exactly what the passage of Measure B and Prop 30 mean for the Mill Valley School District. In short, MVResident is correct. MVSD is a basic aid district and is largely funded via property taxes. If 30 had failed, basic aid districts would not have faced the significant cuts that revenue limit districts, which receive more state funding, would have faced. The "state take-backs" have already been made to MVSD and they are, in part, responsible for the district's budget deficit. Stagnant property taxes (lower revenue) and booming enrollment (higher costs) are the other major factors. The parcel tax raises money that the state can't touch. But the passage of Prop 30 doesn't bring any additional funding to MVSD. I hope that is clear. More to come on this on Monday.
Magoo November 09, 2012 at 06:09 PM
They will just find ways to spend, spend, and spend. They should increase their reserves, but I doubt it. They need to send the kids to sing at ball games, give more tributes to Michael Jackson, and create a glut of poets in this country.

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