Feb 12 2013

OPINION: Schools Need Measure A to Stabilize Budgets

Over the years I have served on many budget, finance, and investment committees including the Piedmont Schools Annual Campaign, the Piedmont Education Foundation, two Municipal Tax Committees, and the current chair of the City’s Budget Advisory Committee. I am well-versed in financial matters relating to school and city funding issues in California.

We have two structural issues in California that put tremendous stress on school and city funding. The first issue is that the State takes local base property taxes and re-allocates them based on State priorities and not local priorities. As a result, education receives less funding than local communities would otherwise provide due to competing State priorities. The second issue is that our property tax system restricts tax growth to 2% unless properties sell, regardless of increases in the costs. Further exacerbating this restriction is Piedmont’s very low property turnover. Almost 1 in 5 homes have not sold since 1980 and carry a very low property tax burden. It is very beneficial for our city to have long standing members who can rely on their basic property taxes not increasing out of control, but the result is that we just don’t collect enough property tax to pay for the services we use – it is true of every city in California.

In Piedmont, we are extremely fortunate to have a vibrant, active community where we can come together and provide the needed funding for our priorities. The simple truth is that the costs for the school system we desire – the one that supports the high values for our homes and the high success rate of our children – are not covered by our basic property taxes. Every year going back decades, Piedmont residents have paid an additional tax that has gone directly to our schools, and Measure A is that tax.

Piedmont has demonstrated over the years that our schools are a top priority, and we need the school support tax, Measure A, to provide a stable, locally-controlled source of funding to maintain the quality of our local schools. All of the money collected from the passage of Measure A will stay in Piedmont to support Piedmont schools and Piedmont priorities Please join me and vote YES ON MEASURE A.

Bill Hosler, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note:  This Opinion is that of the author and does not necessarily represent that of the Piedmont Civic Association. PCA does not  support or oppose ballot measures or candidates for public office.

One Response to “OPINION: Schools Need Measure A to Stabilize Budgets”

  1. San Marino is a comparable City to Piedmont and the number one academically ranked District in the State. Their school taxes total $1,169. They make up the difference by asking for a $2,000 per child contribution from families to their EdFund; the expected Piedmont contribution is $1,000.

    I encourage taxpayers to view the LWV Feb. 7 Forum on Measure A at


    The Schools can have all the funding they ask for, but the badly regressive structure of Measure A is not the way to provide full funding. 78% of homeowners pay more under Measure A.

    Further troubling is that the Proponent ballot rebuttal claims that “low-income seniors are exempt from Measure A” when it is commonly understood that the SSI income ceiling is so low that no homeowner can qualify and afford to own a home in Piedmont. Piedmont is the only top ten academically ranked School District in California without a voluntary 100% senior exemption. At least 39 other districts in our region have a senior exemption. Moraga, Orinda, Oakland and Berkeley add income ceilings that are realistically set at the Federal “very low income” level of 50% median income. The Piedmont income ceiling for the senior exemption is one fourth to one seventh of that realistic level.

    Both Proponents and a public letter by the School Administration state that without Measure A the District will need to reduce personnel by one third. This is preposterous as Measure B remains in place until July 1, 2014 and provides even more funding than Measure A. The School Board always intended a second election and we have plenty of time to get this most expensive school tax in the state right for everyone in Piedmont.

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