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School District Plots Parcel Tax Hike Possibilities

Needing to raise revenue to patch up a budget shortfall, officials ponder going back to voters for a tax increase.

The faces a projected budget shortfall of $1.7 million in 2011-2012, $2.8 million in 2012-2013 that goes up from there. District officials have said they need to explore every option, including significant cutbacks, to make up that gap. For the .

But a major part of the plan for getting the district out of financial predicament will fall on the largess of its affluent population. That means going back to voters and asking for a renewal and increase on the parcel tax, which was passed in 2004 and raised and extended via Measure A in November 2008.

The district expects to receive $6.9 million from its parcel tax in 2010-2011. The current tax is $696 per parcel and is slated to grow by 5 percent each year until 2017-2018. It is currently the second highest in all of Marin County to Kentfield at $812 per parcel.

Establishing how much to ask for is too much is the big question, district trustee Steve Sell said. Parcel taxes need two-thirds approval to pass. The district would yield approximately $1 million for every $100 it adds per parcel to the tax, he estimated.

There’s also the question of timing. Tamalpais Union High School District is seeking to in November. In March 2012, the Mill Valley district’s tax would likely be the only item on a mail-in ballot and give the district a chance to seek the tax again in June or November if it fails. A November 2012 measure would ensure a higher turnout because of the presidential election but wouldn’t provide the district with revenue it could use until 2013-2014, Sell said.

“In terms of what we’re asking the community to do, this would be a pretty big step up,” Sell said. “Our community likes a multi-part plan in which everybody is participating in it, so that’s what we have to come up with.”

The district intends to work with political consultants Barnes Mosher Whitehurst Lauter and Partners polling and messaging for its parcel tax plans.

russellcraig May 27, 2011 at 03:39 AM
I feel that the current parcel tax (with its built-in 5% annual increase) is both a generous and sufficient contribution towards the quality of our schools. Schools, sewer projects, MMWD fire flow, the Mill Valley Public Library—I’m happy to pay my tax share towards community improvement and benefit. But yet another parcel tax increase for schools is simply too much—stacking yet another stone on the backs of already burdened property tax payers. I am stepping forward to say what I hope many others in Mill Valley are thinking: regardless of the beneficent cause, regardless of the glossy, professionally managed advertising campaign regardless of the dire predictions of educational decline—it’s time to say enough, enough.
leslie reiber May 27, 2011 at 07:11 AM
Could we save money by shortening the school year? During the 13 years my kids were involved with the district, it never seemed like anything got done or learned during the two to three weeks after Memorial Day weekend -- seemed like a total waste.
Guillermo Ayesa May 27, 2011 at 12:30 PM
I agree that another parcel tax increase is way too much to ask. I am a school teacher and I live in Mill Valley. I own a condo and pay the current parcel tax.(with the extra 5% annual increase each year). I am also a school teacher and my salary is not sufficient to pay for an added parcel tax. I totally agree with russell. Find another way to get money, and stop imagining that if we live in Marin, and own a home, we must then have to pay for the debts incurred. As a school teacher, I cannot pay any more parcel tax. No more. I vote no. I do not want to get in debt just to bail out the debts of the schools. If schools explore deep enough, they will find ways within the system to balance their own budgets. Please stay out of our homes. Marin County is very creative at getting money for schools. They have businesses who donate money each year. Mill Valley schools have been able to get quite a bit of money through business donations. I say explore other options. Certainly your political consultants can think of creative ways to balance the schools budget each year . Leave our homes alone. We cannot be penalized for owning our homes. The economic crunch has affected all of us even here in Marin where some homeowners owe quite a bit to be able to live in Marin. Let the schools look elsewhere for money. Stay out of our homes. michaelmv
Magoo July 11, 2011 at 06:32 PM
The school district lets all the kids who live on Tennessess Glen Way attend MVSD schools although they are in the Sausalitio school district, and all they have to pay is the annual parcel tax? They don't even have to pay annually for all the school bond issues. And the district spends close to 10,000 per child per year.
Magoo July 13, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Look up the property tax assessments for parcels 052-560-01 to 052-560-10 online. These parcels pay the MVSD parcel tax but NONE of the many MVSD school bond assessments. This is public information. Also online look up the MVSD school board meeting of April 20, 2011 under item H-8 where the Board votes to let Tennessee Glen residents attend MVSD schools. It doesn't take an MBA to figure this is a losing financial arrangement and that the rest of the MVSD residents are subsidizing these other residents.
Magoo August 01, 2011 at 09:24 PM
The 2010 California public school ranking scores just came out. There are no less than 27 schools from the Cupertino school district and the Fremont school district which scored higher than the top school in the Mill Valley School District. And get this. Cupertino's school parcel tax is only $125 and Fremont's is $53. It looks like you really have to look at the cost vs benefit of asking for all this money.

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