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Letter: Where would a tax increase be spent?

January 29, 2014

I am concerned that the parcel tax money, if passed at $450 per year, will not be money well spent. Governor Brown recently announced his new budget proposal to increase the money to schools by $2,188 per student (over 2011-12 funding) and up to $3,410 per student through 2017-18. Apparently, the new budget could add more than $3 million to our school budget.

Rather than rely on volunteer telephone callers to pep-talk voters into support, the district should publish the proposed use of the parcel tax funds. Perhaps a continuation of the $150 yearly parcel tax could pass without additional public scrutiny, but a request to triple the annual amount raises questions that should be answered. If the district is relying on trust, then the administrators should be careful about spending funds that do not go directly for the benefit of students, such as decreasing class sizes.

Last year the district spent money on a glossy mailer extolling the greatness of our schools. It was a new marketing scheme we did not need. In addition, the district announced that a new assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction had been named for the current school year, filling a vacancy in that position for the several years Jim Stratton was the superintendent. Stratton, who had held that assistant superintendent’s position, apparently believed he could fulfill those duties in his role as superintendent, presumably saving the schools $100,000 per year. Will the additional funds to be added by the state be enough or not? In short, feed us with useful information or increase the risk more of us will vote “no” for a $450 parcel tax.

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Bob Smith
La Cañada Flintridge

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