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Unanimous vote against parcel tax

The school board rejected a proposed parcel tax – a tax on real estate that Castro Valley property owners would be required to pay – that possibly could have helped out the financial crises of the Castro Valley Unified School District (CVUSD).

According to Superintendent Jim Negri, the school board received a recommendation to not proceed with the parcel tax proposal due to weak support. This dismayed the board, which could have used the money for educational benefits such as more qualified teachers, an increase in modern technology, and smaller class sizes.

The recommendation was determined from a survey by the Center of Community Opinion, which suggested the proposal be delayed. The factors that led to the decision included the fact that there was uncertainty on how the parcel taxes may be used, the support from K-12 parents was not enough to pass a two-thirds majority vote, and the only costs voters would likely support was at an annual cost of $50 or less per property owner.

“In theory, (a parcel tax) is good for schools, parents, and the districts,” said John Green, a CVHS teacher and president of the Castro Valley Teachers Association. “What parents don’t notice is how important it is. This is urgent and very important for cherished school activities students enjoy. Without these funds, there will be further cuts.”

While Green pointed out that these extra dollars could directly help schools by keeping athletics and other programs available, he did note that there are also some cons.

“It’s a total of $200,000 more to have the proposal passed on the ballot. People are already having trouble with money as it is. If it doesn’t pass, money will be wasted on the amounts of printed paper ballots which had been used for it.”

Appealing to personal income issues, he asserted that “the parcel tax is regressive and is a flat tax, which means that people living in big mansions will pay the same taxes as those lower-income people struggling. It’s essentially unfair. And the fact that communities have to pay, as opposed to the state, will probably drive people away from liking it.”

It is plausible that the parcel tax issue will be debated about in the future and, in the hopes of many, approved.

“If used properly, it can fix some issues in our district,” Green said. “This can and should benefit the schools, and it’s a good start in the right direction.”