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Speak Up: Would You Pay a Tax to Help Soquel Schools?

The school board is considering a special election for locals to vote on a parcel tax.

At a meeting of the Soquel Union school board Wednesday morning, the main topic of discussion will be a potential special election in May regarding a parcel tax.

The board will hold a public forum, where locals can come share their opinions on the subject. Then the board vote to either hold the special election or scrap the idea. The official decision will happen in early February.

With the Soquel Union Elementary School District short on cash (it has the second smallest dollars per student mark in the county), a $90 parcel tax could go a long way.

According to Superintendent Henry Castaniada, if the tax lasted eight years, it could raise $6.4 million. He said the district would use that to hire nine teachers, reducing class sizes from 30 to around 24 students, and the district would also allocate money toward tech-based education — an area where local schools fall far short of those over the hill. 

The election, if it passes the board, will be held May 7. Castaniada said he expects some push back from local homeowners without kids in the school district as well as vacation home owners who spend little time actually living in the area. Seniors and people on disability would be exempt from the tax.

So tell us: Would you pay a $90 tax over 8 years to help fund schools? Tell us in the comments!

Frank Geefay January 29, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Sadly we can no longer depend upon the State and Federal governments to pay for all our local school needs. More and more such increasingly scarce funding is disproportionately going to under performing schools. It may be necessary to get increasingly more money from local sources. If our governments continue slashing budgets to address debt problems then there will be increasingly less public money available for public education unless taxes are significantly raised. If things continue on this road, public schools may eventually become a thing of the past. In any event we are probably going to have to pay increasingly more for it over time one way or another. Some communities are already passing parcel taxes every few years or even having fund raisers to supplement the cost needs of local schools (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/education&id=7399507 It is hard to believe but Cupertino Union School District is one of the lowest funded school districts in the State and nation at $7,829 per student http://cupertino.patch.com/articles/is-gov-brown-right-to-dole-out-money-to-schools-unequally-5220af6f as compared to Soquel Union School District at $8,032 per student http://santacruz.patch.com/articles/is-gov-brown-right-to-dole-out-money-to-schools-unequally-e4dd1c00.). But we cannot abandon education. It is the single most significant investment we must make for our children to become contributing members of society in the future.
Frank Geefay January 29, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Cupertino Union School District is one of the highest ranked school districts in the State regardless of its low student funding. More money does not necessarily mean a better quality education. But it does help.
Elizabeth James January 30, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Take a look at the budget for each of the Cupertino school district PTA's if you want the whole story. They are likely funding many programs, and picking up the slack in per-student spending.
Rachel January 30, 2013 at 09:17 PM
No. My children attended school in this district - I was not impressed. Many times I suggested that the parents should have a year end assessment of the teachers, their hits and misses, that never happened. Money has been spent on a preschool we did not need. Since when do taxpayers pay for preschool? Until the Teachers Union is a thing of the past and the teachers are rewarded based on performance, I will always vote no. This is too bad for the few exceptional teachers here, unfortunately not enough of them.
Frank Geefay January 31, 2013 at 09:19 PM
I'm not sure if you are addressing my comments about Cupertino. Assuming you are, I am in total agreement with your general comments about teacher assessments. As a matter fact this is a problem throughout the State. However this does not mean that all teachers are not doing a good job. I'm sure many if not most are but they are not being objectively evaluated, largely due to union resistance. Unions want to protect teacher with seniority, those likely to control the union. I believe things are improving in the area of teacher assessments but I think they still have a long way to go to be equitable. However in reality it is the high expectations of parents and their involvement and attention to their children’s education that has resulted in stellar student performance. Exceptional teacher are a rarity in any school district and most certainly should be rewarded financially for their outstanding work. Fortunately for us most such teachers find the reward in the success of their students rather than their paycheck. As for preschools they are simply not part of the public education system and are at the option of the parent. Our public schools simply do not have the budgets for preschools.
Frank Geefay January 31, 2013 at 09:27 PM
The PTA has to have a budget of millions to impact expenses for all students in the district. Most of there money is spent on supplies, trips, etc., not on teacher salaries, administrative costs, and facilities expenses.

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