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.”
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