7 Local school districts pass parcel tax

May 4, 2011 7:28:29 PM PDT
Bay Area voters are willing to dig deeper into their pockets to help pay for schools. Parcel tax measures have been approved in seven local school districts: Lafayette, San Carlos, Ravenswood in East Palo Alto, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Los Gatos-Saratoga. All passed with two thirds majorities.

Districts where tax measures failed are: John Swett in Contra Costa County; Jefferson Union on the peninsula; the Pleasanton School District, and New Haven in Union City.

First graders at Bishop Elementary School are among the big election winners. Nearly 70 percent of the ballots cast in the Sunnyvale School District favored a $59-a-year parcel tax. That will generate about $1.1 million a year for seven years. The district superintendent is ecstatic.

"It will help buffer the cuts we are expecting from the State of California, protect basic programs, and keep our classes as small as possible," said Sunnyvale District Superintendant Ben Picard.

It's a different story in Union City where a $180-a-year parcel tax for the New Haven Unified School District appears to have lost by the very narrowest of margins. The Registrar Of Voters is reporting the yes ballots are just 27 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

"Very frustrating, very. Because they are the ones who are going to suffer," said Joanne Campbell, referring to her child.

Measure B's campaign chair is not giving up hope. Richard Valle says ballots dropped off at the post office before 8 p.m. on Tuesday have not been counted and he says there was a promise they would be included in the election results.

"Plan B is to keep a close eye on those ballots and that's the mantra right now. It's not over, until it's over, and it's not over," said Valle.

New Haven's superintendent says the volunteer campaign effort was extraordinary and she's committed to making sure no voters were disenfranchised. The Registrar Of Voters is standing by the process that was followed, adding that anyone can request a recount if they pay for it.

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