Nov 7 2019

I am so thrilled to report that the Piedmont Community passed both Measures G and H.

Your continued commitment to a robust public education is incredible! I want to thank the countless parent, staff, and student volunteers for all of their support and civic engagement over the past few months. It was encouraging to be a part of a community-wide conversation about our schools and how we support teaching and learning.

I fully recognize and am grateful for the commitment that families have made in our school system. I will continue to work closely with the Board of Education, teachers, staff, families, and students to ensure that Piedmont’s schools not only continue to provide excellence in education, but that we also continue to grow and improve in how we educate students.

Please join me in also thanking and acknowledging the election staff from the City of Piedmont. Their efforts ensured a smooth election day!

On behalf of all of the teachers, support staff, and administrators, thank you for your support and engagement with our incredible district.

Sincerely,

Randall Booker, Superintendent of Piedmont Unified School District

Oct 28 2019

Dear Editor,

I’m writing to express my strong support for Measures G&H. As a realtor and a grandmother of children attending the Piedmont schools, I understand the importance of our Piedmont schools on many levels.

Every day, I work with families who want to buy homes in Piedmont because they know that our community offers a great education for their children. The strength of our schools directly affects the value of Piedmont homes.

I am proud to live in a community that values education, and I’m thrilled that my grandchildren attend the Piedmont schools. I know that they are receiving an outstanding education that includes small class sizes and access to art classes, libraries, current technology, and eventually AP classes and a range of electives. This breadth of programming exists because Piedmont has consistently passed school parcel taxes for over 30 years, helping to address the lack of state funding for education. In addition to preserving our educational program, we also need to support the teachers who work hard every day to teach our students. Measures G&H will allow us to preserve our educational programs and properly compensate Piedmont teachers.

All of the money raised by our school parcel taxes stays here in Piedmont. Even if you don’t have children who attend the Piedmont schools, Measures G&H are a wise investment because they help protect and improve our property values. The Piedmont schools have been the centerpiece of our community for decades. I encourage Piedmont residents to join me in voting Yes on Measures G&H in order to keep our schools strong.

Sincerely,

Anian Pettit Tunney, Piedmont Resident

Broker Associate , The Grubb Co.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 15 2019

We are proud to be co-chairing the Yes on Measures G&H campaign. Since 1985, Piedmont has passed school support tax measures eight consecutive times. These school support taxes are one of the main reasons that Piedmont continues to have outstanding schools, ranking as among the best in California on student achievement.

There are several reasons why the Piedmont schools need to pass Measures G&H. Piedmont schools receive less state funding per student than neighboring districts because they have fewer students who are in special categories that get extra state funding. For example, Piedmont receives about $2,000 less per student than Oakland Unified School District and about $1,000 less per student than Berkeley Unified School District. In addition, Piedmont has only a few small businesses, and therefore can’t rely on revenues from businesses or donations from large companies. State funding for education is unreliable and has not grown fast enough to keep pace with rising costs, especially rising cost of living for teachers. Therefore, Measures G&H are critical for maintaining high quality schools in Piedmont.

We are fortunate to live in a community that values education and that has passed school parcel taxes consistently for over 30 years. All of the money raised by our community stays in Piedmont to support our students. This local funding helps keep class sizes small, and maintains a range of programs in math, science, technology, and the arts, as well as advanced placement classes, counseling and libraries. This range of programs prepares students for college and careers, and keeps them engaged.

Overall, Piedmont teachers are paid less than teachers in many surrounding schools districts. The average Piedmont teacher has a lower salary than the average teacher in San Ramon, Emeryville, Albany, Union City, and Dublin. Piedmont has lost 22 teachers in the last two years, simply due to cost of living issues. The purpose of Measure H is to address this issue by providing compensation strategies to help recruit and retain high quality teachers.

Together, Measures G&H will provide nearly 30% of our district’s budget and will help maintain the excellence of our Piedmont schools. The strength of our schools helps to protect property values for everyone in Piedmont, not just the residents whose kids attend the schools. For more information about Measures G&H, please visit yesongandh.org.

Hilary Cooper

Doug Ireland

Christine Wente von Metzsch

Editors Note: PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors. 

Oct 14 2019

Click the link below to read an opinion in support of Measures G and H submitted by Piedmont resident Hari Titan.

>Vote_YES_on_Measures_G_and_H

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.  PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.
Oct 8 2019

Piedmont voters are called to a special election exclusively for Piedmont Schools on November 5, 2019.  Some confusion has arisen as to the amount of the Measure G and H taxes and the relationship between various current and proposed tax measures.

Measure G, essentially a continuation tax, preempts existing school parcel tax, Measure A, which is scheduled to expire in 2021.  Every property owner in Piedmont will pay a base rate of $2,763 per parcel per year if Measure G is approved. 

Measure H is a new additional school parcel tax increasing the school parcel taxes property owners will pay.  If Measure H, if approved by voters, will require property owners to pay an additional tax of  $0.25 per square foot of habitable space on their parcel.

Example:

$2,763 = Base amount for approval of Measure G.

If Measure G and H are approved, a homeowner with 2,000 square footage of habitable space will pay $2,763 base tax plus 2,000 multiplied by 25 cents  equaling $500 for a total of $3,263, rather than the current yearly base rate of $2,763 per parcel.

   MEASURE G IS ESSENTIALLY A RENEWAL OF THE CURRENT SCHOOL PARCEL TAX 

The Piedmont Board of Education is asking Piedmont voters to support (“Measure G”) on November 5, 2019 the renewal of its existing parcel tax to maintain current programs starting at the $2,763 rate with a potential 2% annual increase. In a separate measure (“Measure H”) voters are asked for an additional amount ($0.25 per square foot of habitable square footage / building improvements – on a parcel.)  

Measure G is a continuation tax without a tax base increase. Measure G, if approved, will have an 8-year “duration” of the tax. The tax can be increased by 2% per year.  Approving Measure G will provide $10.6 million in revenues to the Piedmont Unified School District. 

MEASURE H IS A NEW ADDITIONAL TAX BASED ON THE HABITABLE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS ON A PARCEL.

The second ballot measure (Measure H) is new and an additional tax to be applied to all Piedmont parcels. Measure H would be set at a flat rate of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements, square footage of a home  (Improvements are existing improvements of the habitable square footage space of all buildings and homes on a parcel).  Measure H would  have an 8-year duration. Passage of Measure H would result in an additional $2.6 million to the Piedmont schools. All homeowners and business will pay for this  additional tax if approved.   Homes with more square footage of habitable space will pay more than smaller homes and buildings.

If both G and H Measures pass, rates will vary tremendously per parcel on the additional tax with the largest square footage homeowners paying up to $6,568 per year.

Both Measures G and H would raise $13.3 million.

Registered Piedmont voters have received a Voter Information Guide in the mail that details the election.  The election is a stand alone special election exclusively related to the Piedmont Unified School District.  The current parcel tax does not expire until June 2021.  The two proposals, if approved, will take effect in 2020.

Residents have been canvassed by volunteer supporters to determine individuals voting preferences – yes or no.   Individuals stating they are in support of the ballot measures can expect reminders to vote in the November 5, 2019 Election. Those who have voiced opposition or no preference to the ballot measures should not expect to receive a reminder to vote on the November 5 ballot measures.

 Explanations and the rationale for supporting the school parcel tax proposals can be found in the Voter Information Guide.  No argument was filed against the measures in the Voter Information Guide. 

Voters have been asking:

1.The Voter Information Guide is unclear about whether or not PERMANENT “Vote by Mail” voters need to re-apply for their mail ballot.

Answer:  It is our understanding that those previously receiving their ballot in the mail will continue to receive their ballot without reapplying. If for any reason, a voter does not timely receive their ballot in the mail, the voter can vote in person at their polling location listed on the back of the Voter Information Guide or any polling location.

“Vote by mail allows voters to cast a ballot without going to a polling place. If a registered voter has applied to vote by mail, the Registrar’s office mails a ballot to the registered address of the voter beginning 29 days before an election. The voter votes the ballot and returns it to the election office by mail. The voter can also return it in person to the office or to any polling place on Election Day to be counted. Any voter can apply to vote by mail permanently in every election.”  Alameda County Registrar of Voters

2. Are the school parcel taxes deductible on Federal income taxes?

Answer: Deduction of state and local taxes are each year limited to a maximum deduction of $10,000 per single or married couple on Federal income tax returns. Many Piedmonters will likely not be able to deduct the school parcel tax in additional to their state income taxes.

3. What happens if the school parcel tax measures are not approved by Piedmont voters?

Answer: To be approved, each ballot measure requires approval by 2/3 rds or 66 2/3rds of the voters voting on the measures.  If voters approve Measure G, but not Measure H at the November 5 Election, the School Board will likely accept that voters did not want additional funding beyond the base amount of Measure G. However, if both measures are rejected by voters, it is assumed that the School Board will return with a different measure to achieve voter support prior to the 2021 expiration of the current school parcel tax, Measure A.

4. Is there an exemption for senior homeowners ?

Answer: No.  The School Board was informed that many other school districts have an exemption or tax reduction for senior homeowner taxpayers; however, in calculating the result of reducing or eliminating the tax for seniors and given the significant number of seniors residing in Piedmont, a determination was made that insufficient funds would be derived from the tax  to produce adequate funds to support School District needs. Additionally, the School Board noted that property values related to excellent schools benefited all Piedmont property owners whether seniors or not.

5. What percentage of the school population does not reside in Piedmont?

Answer: The number varies but all city and school employees are allowed to send their children to the Piedmont schools.  Additionally, the Piedmont Millennium High School has a significant number of students residing outside of Piedmont.  A recent need for more students to maintain the budgeted amount derived from the California state contribution of approximately $8,500 resulted in an invitation to residents’ grandchildren and others from outside of Piedmont to fill specific slots in certain grades.  About 18 additional non-resident students were added to the student population for the 2019-2020 school year.

6.  Does the School District need Measure H to balance their budget?

Answer:  Measure H provides funding beyond the basic budgetary needs of the District. Measure H was proposed as a way to increase funding for school teachers and other purposes identified by the School Board.

7.  Where can I return my “vote by mail” ballot?

Answer: An Alameda County Ballot Box where voters can drop their no postage ballot will be at the corner of Highland and Highland Way, next to the mailboxes, near Wells Fargo Bank in central Piedmont. Voters can also mail their ballot as stated on their envelope.  When mailed, the envelope requires no postal stamps.  Voters can also turn in their ballot to officials at their regular voting location noted on the back of their Voter Information Guide or any polling location.

8. D0 City of Piedmont municipal parcel taxes go to the schools?

Answer:  No.  The School District and the City of Piedmont have separate revenues, separate budgets, and separate governance.  Piedmont property owners pay separately for the schools and the city The funds are not commingled.  Property owners can see the distinct taxation for the schools and the city on their recent Alameda County property tax statement.

Editors Note:  PCA does not support or oppose any ballot measures. 

Updated 10/14/2019

Sep 17 2019

City / School Liaison Committee

Tuesday, September 17, 4 pm

City Hall Conference Room, 120 Vista Avenue

The meeting is open to the public.  It will not be recorded or broadcast. 

 Agenda

1. Update on H1 (School Bond Construction)
2. Update on Juvenile Officer 
3. Discussion of PUSD Ballot Measures on the November 2019 Ballot
4. Discussion Regarding Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Safety
Read the agenda  here:
Committee members:

CITY COUNCIL AND STAFF MEMBERS:

SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD AND STAFF MEMBERS:

Sep 1 2019

Letter from Piedmont Unified School District regarding school funding  –

For several years, PUSD has been working to educate our community about how the state of California is failing children by not adequately funding education.  We are often asked what can be done to change that.

Now is your chance…

We urge you to contact state legislators Representative Buffy Wicks, Piedmont’s Representative in the State Assembly (email or phone 916-319-2015) and Representative Rob Bonta (email or phone 916-319-2018) today to ask them to support the issue of Full and Fair Funding by placing a measure on the ballot before they adjourn for their fall recess on Sept. 13. 

Please click on the following links to learn more and see the draft script to help you in your outreach and support:

>Full & Fair Funding Letter and Script

>East Bay Coalition for Public Education

There has never been a more critical time to be bold and stand with educators, students, parents and communities across the state to show your support for greater investment in California’s public education system. Full and Fair Funding is an education-specific measure that would move California to the national average in per-pupil funding.

This is the same letter that we have sent to all families across the District.  Join us in support for Full and Fair Funding.

Sincerely,

Randall Booker, Superintendent, Piedmont USD
Terra Salazar, CSEA President, Piedmont USD
Gabriel Kessler, APT President, Piedmont USD
Board of Trustees, Piedmont USD:
Amal Smith, President
Cory Smegal, Vice President
Sarah Pearson
Megan Pillsbury
Andrea Swenson

 
“If we create a culture where every educator believes they need to improve, not because they are not good enough but because they can be even better, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”
– Dylan Wiliam
Piedmont Unified School District
           760 Magnolia Avenue
           Piedmont, CA 94611   510.594.2614 office
           www.piedmont.k12.ca.us

            https://www.twitter.com/piedmontunified

Jun 25 2019

Measure A = $2,763 Uniform per year tax for all parcels

Measure B = Adds an additional tax based on building Square Footage for up to $3,192 more per year. 

To view the actual proposed tax on your home or property go to the staff report and read the chart seen below.

The Piedmont School Board will act on June 26, 2019 to place on the November Ballot two new school parcel taxes. Measure A will be a uniform parcel cost of $2,763 per parcel.  Measure B is based on square footage of building space.  If both measures pass, the smallest square foot building homeowner would pay $2,763 per year, and the largest square foot of building would pay $6,675 per year.

The staff recommendation is for 2 Measures on the November 2019 Ballot.  Given the recent poll results and Piedmont’s current educational needs, District staff recommends that the Board of Education consider asking voters to support the renewal of its existing parcel tax to maintain current programs at the $2,763 flat rate (“Measure A”) and in a separate measure (“Measure B”) asking voters for an additional amount ($0.25 per building square foot) to ensure that Piedmont schools will be better able to attract and retain highly qualified teachers and educational support staff.

Renewing the existing parcel tax (“Measure A”) would secure $10.8 million in revenues. Measure A is a continuation, no tax increase measure. We [District Staff] would also recommend an 8-year “duration” of the tax to provide a stable ongoing source of revenue to the District and fulfill the description as a pure continuation of what is in place today.

To view what you would pay if Measure A and/or B pass, see below:

# of parcels

Square Feet of improved property

% of parcels

Measure A $2,763

Measure B @ 0.25 per sq/ft

A+B (total tax)

104

0/vacant

2.6%

$2,763

$0

$2,763

25

557-1,000

0.6%

$2,763

$139 – $250

$2,902 – $3,013

1098

1,001-2,000

27.9%

$2,763

$250 – $500

$3,013 – $3,263

1528

2,001-3,000

38.8%

$2,763

$500 – $750

$3,263 – $3,874

707

3,001-4,000

17.9%

$2,763

$750 – $1,000

$3,874 – $3,763

267

4,001-5,000

6.7%

$2,763

$1,000 – $1,250

$3,763 – $4,013

99

5,001-6,000

2.5%

$2,763

$1,250 – $1,500

$4,013 – $4,263

38

6,001-7,000

1.0%

$2,763

$1,500 – $1,750

$4,263 – $4,513

19

7,001-8,000

0.5%

$2,763

$1,750 – $2,000

$4,513 – $4,763

19

8,001-9,000

0.5%

$2,763

$2,000 – $2,250

$4,763 – $5,013

8

9,001-10,000

0.2%

$2,763

$2,250 – $2,500

$5,013 – $5,263

21

10,001-15,650

0.3%

$2,763

$2,500 – $3,912

$5,263 – $6,675

1

25,635 (apartment)

<0.1%

$2,763

$6,409

$9,172

VI_F_UpdatedBackgroundSchoolSupportTax_0 with chart

Additionally, we [District Staff] recommend that a second measure (“Measure B”) be placed on the ballot. [See above chart.] This second measure would be set at $0.25 per building square foot and would also have an 8-year duration. Passage of Measure B would result in an additional $2.6 million to the Piedmont schools. Importantly, the entire community would share the burden of an increased tax (although larger properties would pay more and smaller properties less – $139 per year for the smallest residential parcel). An added benefit is that if this tax were challenged from a legal standpoint, only the supplemental tax would be at legal risk.

If both measures pass, the smallest square foot homeowner would pay $2,763 per year, and the largest square foot building owner would pay $9,172 per year.

Together [Measure A and B], both measures would raise $13.4 million.

II. RECOMMENDATION: REVIEW AND ACTION After convening the second of two (2) public hearings—June 12, 2019 and June 26, 2019, District staff recommends that the Board adopt the two subsequent Board Resolutions (Measure A & B) that authorize both the renewal of a qualified special tax and a second qualified special tax for voter approval on November 5, 2019.

VI.F. Approve Resolution 19-2018-19 “Proposing a Qualified Special Tax and Establishing Specification of the Election Order Measure A”

At 8:40 p.m. the Board is requested to approve the attached Resolution 19-2018-19 “Proposing a Qualified Special Tax and Establishing Specifications of the Election Order Measure A”.

The Resolution calls for an election on November 5, 2019 to extend the authorization of the Board to levy the current School Support Tax as permitted in Measure A for eight years starting on July 1, 2020.  The new Measure “A” is a renewal of the current School Support Tax—a uniform flat tax on all parcels.  The new Measure “A” will continue to provide an exemption for churches, public utilities, and those eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income.  The new Measure “A” also continues to permit an inflation growth rate of up to two (2) percent per year.

Attachments:

VI_F_UpdatedBackgroundSchoolSupportTax_0

VI_F_UpdatedResolution19201819MeasureA_0

 At 9:00 p.m. ~

VI.G. Approve Resolution 20-2018-19 “Proposing a Qualified Special Tax and Establishing Specification of the Election Order Measure B” 

The Board is requested to approve the attached Resolution 20-2018-19 “Proposing a Qualified Special Tax and Establishing Specifications of the Election Order Measure B”.

The Resolution calls for an election on November 5, 2019 to authorize the Board to levy a new School Support Tax as permitted in Measure “B”  for eight years starting on July 1, 2020.  The new Measure “B” is a uniform tax applied at $0.25 per square foot of building improvements.  The new Measure “B” will continue to provide an exemption for churches, public utilities, and those eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income.  The new Measure “B” does not include an inflation growth rate.

VI_G_Resolution20201819MeasureBParcelTax_0

READ the above linked reports for further details.

The meeting will be held in Piedmont City Hall, broadcast on Cable Channel 27 and the Piedmont website under School Board. 

 

Jun 14 2019

Non-resident students are sought for the upcoming Piedmont school year.

The Piedmont Unified School District has announced the application process which begins on June 24, 2019 for inter-district non-resident student transfers into the Piedmont Unified School District for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year.

June 13, 2019

The Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) announces the opportunity for interested families to apply for interdistrict transfers for the 2019-2020 school year.  Currently, there are openings at the Kindergarten level.  With approximately 15 kindergarten spaces available, a lottery will be held if there are more applications than space availability.

Additionally, new to 2019, the Board of Education revised Board Policy and Administrative Regulation (AR) 5117 that permits children of grandparents who currently reside in the city of Piedmont to apply for an interdistrict transfer. 

Enrollment will be based on the priority order outlined in AR 5117 and space availability.

Interested families can find more information about interdistrict permits on our District’s website www.piedmont.k12.ca.us under the “District Info Tab” – Admission and Enrollment. http://www.piedmont.k12.ca.us/district-info/enrollment/

The application process includes:

1. Complete an interdistrict permit (contact your school district of residence for the form).

2. Visit your district of residence and submit the completed interdistrict permit for approval. Your district may require additional items and/or an in-person visit. Please speak with them about their requirements for your permit.

3. Once you have been approved by your district of residence, please submit the original approved permit, along with the required proofs outlined in AR 5117, to Sylvia Eggert, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, PUSD, 760 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

4. PUSD will begin processing submitted interdistrict permits on June 24, 2019. If your permit is approved, you will be contacted by a PUSD representative by August 1, 2019.

READ the full policy below:

Board Policy and Administrative Regulation (AR) 5117 

http://www.piedmont.k12.ca.us/district-info/enrollment/

Questions ? Contact Administrative Assistant Sylvia Eggert at 510.594.2614 or seggert@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Jun 12 2019

Piedmont School Board
c/o Randy Booker, Superintendent

re: June 12, 2019 Agenda item: School Taxes

Dear President Smith and Board,

I.      I take exception to Mr. Booker’s comments May 22 at 3:48 that a single square foot building tax would not allow the District to have a separate flat tax on unimproved parcels.  I again cite two sources:
– SB2954 (2018) Legislation allows a separate unimproved parcel rate.
– Alameda School District’s 2011 Measure A square foot of building tax with a separate flat rate for unimproved parcels and the identical 2016 Measure B1 tax; both these taxes withstood legal challenges.  Significantly, Judge Petrou in his 2018 stipulated judgement required a flat rate tax on unimproved parcels to bring Measure B1 in alignment with Measure A (source: Sean McPhetridge, AUSD Superintendent,  4/4/2018 Press Release).

II.     While identifying all parcels by their Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) is welcome, having multi-parcel owners combine parcels to a single APN to avoid paying multiple taxes is a problematic solution. Combining parcels at the County level eliminates some buildable lots. Should the owners wish to recapture these parcels, the process is not simple and is done at the City level.  Applications, surveys and new legal descriptions on new recorded documents would be required. This does not respect Piedmont taxpayers who have been so generous in their School support. Finally, eliminating buildable size parcels works against Piedmont’s requirement of meeting State mandates of providing more housing.
A multi-parcel exemption handled by the District is the proper and simple solution.

III.    I again propose a single $1.15 per square foot building tax which gives the District a 15% increase in tax revenue.  This acknowledges that Piedmonters have been very generous in their District support and a 25% in total increase is excessive.

Respectfully,
Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.