What does revenue from the parcel tax fund?
This measure will:
- Attract and retain qualified teachers
- Maintain instructional materials and equipment for science programs
- Support core academic programs, including math, science, technology, reading and writing
- Maintain music programs and world language electives, such as French and Spanish classes
- Maintain classroom computers and technology instruction
- Maintain class sizes
- Keep school libraries open and maintain library services and materials
How much is the parcel tax?
The measure will renew the current annual rate of $352 per parcel and add $118 per parcel. The amount may be adjusted by no more than 3% annually to ensure funding keeps pace with inflation and the cost of providing instruction.
Why do we need the local measure?
We have outstanding local schools—and we need the local measure to keep them that way. If we don’t pass the measure, our schools will lose $1.9 million every year, which would force our schools to cut academic programs, increase class sizes, and lay off teachers and staff. We can’t let this happen to our schools.
For almost 30 years, our schools have relied on locally-controlled funding to protect academic programs such as reading, math and science programs, as well as music, arts and world language programs. These programs help provide a strong academic foundation and build students’ creativity and critical thinking skills. This funding is set to expire—we need the local measure to renew essential local funding and protect our outstanding schools.
Why does the measure increase local funding for our schools?
The cost of providing outstanding academic programs and retaining qualified teachers has continued to increase each year. At the same time, however, the revenue provided by our local funding measure has remained constant. We need to increase local funding to protect existing programs. This measure includes a modest increase and allows up to 3% annual adjustment to ensure funding keeps pace with inflation and the cost of providing quality instruction.
What are the financial accountability provisions?
- All funding raised by this measure will benefit local schools and no funds can be taken by the state or other school districts
- By law, no funds from this measure can be used for administrator salaries
- An independent citizens’ oversight committee, annual audits and reports to the community will continue to be required to ensure funds are spent as promised
- The measure will automatically expire in 12 years and cannot be extended without voter approval
Are there parcel tax exemptions?
An exemption from the tax will be made available to the following individuals:
(a) Persons in the District who will attain 65 years of age prior to July 1 of the tax year, own a beneficial interest in the parcel, and use that parcel as his or her principal place of residence (“Senior Citizen Exemption”); or,
(b) Persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age, and occupying said parcel as a principal residence (“SSI Exemption”); or
(c) Persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, whose yearly income does not exceed 250 percent of the 2017 federal poverty guidelines issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“SSDI Exemption”).
Applications for all exemptions shall be made to the District in accordance with District policies and on or before July 1 of any tax year. Any one application from a qualified applicant will provide an exemption for the parcel for the remaining term of the tax so long as such applicant continues to own and use the parcel as his or her principal residence. Approved exemptions in effect for a prior parcel tax measure will not require re-approval. The District shall annually provide to the Marin County Tax Collector (“County Tax Collector”) or other appropriate County official a list of parcels that the District has approved for an exemption.
When and where do I vote?
There will be no polling places open on Election Day, May 8, 2018. Instead, this measure will appear on a ballot by mail, which will be mailed to you on April 9, 2018. When you receive your ballot, please vote YES, sign and date the outer envelope and mail your ballot back immediately. Your ballot must be postmarked May 8, 2018 or earlier to be counted. You may also deliver your ballot to the Marin County Elections office on May 8, 2018.
Why is the measure on an all-mail ballot?
The mail ballot election on May 8, 2018 is an established election date. This election date is available to any school district seeking to place a parcel tax measure on the ballot. In this election, the County will mail a ballot to every registered voter in the Dixie School District, making it easier for voters to participate. In addition, the measure will be the only issue on the ballot, allowing voters to focus their attention on this issue and not be distracted by other candidates or measures.
What about Can Do! and parent contributions? Can they make up the difference?
We have excellent schools in the Dixie School District, in large part because of the generous support and dedication of our parents and community members. Every year, Can Do! donates approximately $700,000 to our schools, which is essential to protecting art, music, technology, physical education and many more programs that would be at risk without their support.
This generous support, however, cannot fully address the budget gap. For almost 30 years, our schools have relied on locally-controlled funding to protect strong academic programs. Without this funding, our schools would lose $1.9 million annually, which could not be made up by parent donations alone.
Will funding from this measure be used to fund public employee pensions?
No. Funds from the parcel tax renewal measure may only be used to fund the specific programs and services identified in the measure. School districts do not set retirement benefits for their employees—they are set at the state level. Any increases in contributions to state teacher and school employee retirement systems will have to be funded from other sources.
How much will the measure raise each year?
If passed, the measure will generate $2.6 million in annual funding for our local schools. Every penny will stay in our community and no funds can be taken away by the State.
How does local funding for Dixie School District compare to funding for other school districts in Marin County?
Many school districts in Marin County rely on stable, local funding for their schools. Dixie School District schools, however, have a lower parcel tax than many of our neighbors. For example, Kentfield School District’s current parcel tax is $1,143 and Mill Valley School District’s parcel tax is $980. If this measure passes, local funding for our schools will continue to be modest compared to funding for many of our nearby districts.
How does Dixie School District per-pupil funding compare to other school districts in Marin County?
Other school districts in Marin County receive more funding per pupil than Dixie School District. For example, Ross, San Rafael, Reed and Kentfield School District all receive more funding per student, allowing them to provide high quality academic programs. To keep our schools performing among the highest in the county and state, we need to renew local funding and pass this measure. Without this local renewal measure, our schools will lose $1.9 million in funding each year.
How do quality local schools impact property values?
Our outstanding local schools attract families to our community, which creates a strong demand for homes in our area and protects property values. By voting YES on this measure, we can protect our outstanding schools and also protect property values.
Some additional statistics on home values and quality schools include:
- 20 to 1 = For every dollar spent on public schools in a community, home values increased $20*. ---*National Bureau of Economic Research
- $205,000 greater value in home prices between houses near high-performing and low-performing schools.*
- $50 more per square foot than homes in communities with average-ranked schools -----Redfin brokerage report in 2013
- Link: https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/what-is-the-connection-between-home-values-and-school-performance
- Link: https://www.redfin.com/blog/2013/09/paying-more-for-a-house-with-a-top-public-school-its-elementary.html
Please send additional questions to campaign committee co-chairs, Nichole Mullen and Tracy Smith, at firstname.lastname@example.org.