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Tam Union District Board Backs Parcel Tax Renewal

Board president says district’s five high schools will look much different in 2012 if nearly 22-year-old tax isn’t renewed in November.

The Tamalpais Union High School District board voted Tuesday to put a renewal of its longstanding parcel tax on the Nov. 8 ballot, hoping to avoid major budget cuts along the lines of those it made in 2010.

The measure would require a two-thirds majority of voters to pass, a mark that ist has achieved easily in both its first passage in 1989 and subsequent renewals in 1997 and 2004. If approved, the parcel tax would start at $245.94 in July 2012 and rise by 3 percent annually for 10 years. Seniors are eligible for an exemption.

The district includes Tam, Drake, Redwood, Tamiscal and San Andreas high schools.

“Our five high schools will look very different if it doesn’t pass,” TUHSD Board President Cindy McCauley said. “We know that times are tough right now for individual property owners, so we aren’t looking for a bunch of additional money. But we need it.”

The current parcel tax of $238.78 tax expires June 30, 2012. It provides about $8.5 million a year in funding, or more than 16 percent of the district’s total $52 million annual budget. The tax is used to pay for keeping student-to-teacher ratios below around 28-to-1, as well as funding programs like science and technology, social studies, foreign language, performing arts, Advanced Placement and honors courses, counseling services, fine arts and alternative education.

McCauley said that if for some reason the parcel tax renewal measure fails in November, the district could bring it back to voters for a special election in June 2012, though that would be a very costly measure.

More likely, the district would have to look at additional like those made in 2010, when it slashed more than $3.1 million from its budget by eliminating classified positions and cutting administrative staff by 30 percent, McCauley said.

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