Plans to add a new parcel tax on homes in the Castro Valley School District are in the very beginning stages with the school board. This tax would be an attempt to offset deficits created by state budget cuts.
If passed, this tax would add taxes to each parcel of land in the district and the funds would go directly to CVUSD. The earliest this tax would appear on a ballot would probably be spring of 2012, and would need to pass with a two-thirds majority of all district voters to take effect.
A flat tax, or fixed amount per parcel, is the most common format of parcel taxes. However the CVUSD school board has not discussed the the format of a possible tax yet and there are other options.
A parcel tax is a very specific type of tax used to raise funds for schools. The tax proposal would have to spell out what the money would go to, an exact amount per parcel, how long the tax would be in effect, and other small details such as senior exemptions or adjustments for inflation.
School board members are far from these steps, as this tax is in the very early phases of planning. They still must decide if the funds raised would be worth the cost of campaigning or if the tax would even have a chance of passing.
Parcel taxes usually pass in small increments and increase over time. A starting tax could add around $50 to $100 to each property tax. The exact amount would be determined through surveys to discover what people are willing to pay.
Other school districts in the area already have parcel taxes, some quite high. The parcel tax in the Piedmont school district accounts for 21 percent of the district’s budget. This tax has built up over the years allowing the schools security in economic hard times.
Fortunately, these additional funds are not in desperate need. The district has managed funds well, but reserves are dwindling and soon the money might become necessary to avoid layoffs or program cuts.