School Officials Disappointed in Rejection of Parcel Tax, Brace For Cuts

The Jefferson Union High School District's parcel tax, Measure C, failed Tuesday night. The district's board reluctantly moves toward cuts.

The Jefferson Union High School District Board was somber when it was notified that the district’s parcel tax after an initial ballot count was released Tuesday night.

Measure C, the parcel tax, was supported by 59.5 percent of voters and opposed by 40.5 percent, but needs a two-thirds majority approval to pass.

What the board—and the group assembled to watch its meeting in Daly City on Tuesday—now fears most is the budget cuts that will come in the wake of Measure C’s failure.

“It’s been a long, tough road," said Laurie Frater, a board member from Pacifica. “What I really don’t relish is not just that this lost, but the prospect of the cuts we’re going to have to make if it doesn’t pass because this is going to be horrendous.” 

Frater said that while the district increased class sizes, froze teacher pay raises and cut programming two years ago, it did not have to make any cuts this year because of $1.1 million in federal stimulus money it received. That money won't be around next spring, however, and the district will need to remove about $3.3 million from its expenditures, or just under 8 percent of its annual budget. Everything will be on the table, said Frater. 

“Our staff is cut down to the bare bone,” said Caro Pemberton, principal of . “Our counselors are cut and our teachers have taken pay cuts, the school year is shorter, we cut summer school, transportation, supplies, art. It’s going to be a very deep look into what we can possibly cut.”

Pemberton showed clear signs of frustration with voters for not passing the parcel tax Tuesday. 

“I’m deeply disappointed,” she said. “I would have thought that our community would have realized how important young people are to the community and how dire a situation this is and come to action to save the schools.” 

Alyssa Jenkins, a teacher at said she felt betrayed by voters and is seriously considering finding a new career.

“Frankly, I think there’s an extreme climate of suspicion in Pacifica and they don’t recognize how much we’ve already given up,” she said. “I think that the recent attack on teachers and other public employees and their pensions has people thinking that we’re living off the fat of the land and we need to tighten our belts. They don’t understand that the belts have been tightened and tightened and tightened.” 

Measure C, the district’s “second try” at a parcel tax following a nearly , would have levied a flat $96-per-parcel tax on property owners for four years. The measure would have raised an estimated $3.2 annually for non-administration salaries and to restore previously cut academic programs.

Thomas Minshew, principal at Terra Nova High School and incoming superintendent of the Jefferson Union High School District, said it’s unclear if the district will try yet again to pass a parcel tax. 

“That will be up to the board,” he said. 

It will also be up to the board where to make cuts next spring. 

Steve Sinai May 04, 2011 at 10:53 PM
"I, along with a significant majority of the voting public in this City, have done our homework and have spoken." A significant majority voted for the school parcel tax, but you need a 2/3 threshold to pass. And we're not just talking about Pacifica schools.
Robert May 04, 2011 at 11:12 PM
Congratulations! I admire your community for standing up to ever increasing demands for money by saying NO. It astounds me that so many people who support the tax hate our Democracy so much! All their comments are complaining about the California State Constitution's requirement for a 2/3 vote. California Schoolteachers take an oath to uphold the state constitution. I sure hope there aren't any schoolteachers among the complainers, because you're violating this oath. http://noonmeasurec.blogspot.com/
Zoe May 05, 2011 at 12:39 AM
I am not a teacher, just a community member , whose husband has been terribly effected by the economy, but we still choose to support education. I am not whining and really don't understand why you have to make a personal attack to get your point across.
Zoe May 05, 2011 at 12:45 AM
"Pacifica schools do not utilize out-sourced service, clerical or administrative services from local businesses" I lost my last job due to out-sourcing with the airlines.. no thank you..
Zoe May 05, 2011 at 12:49 AM
Robert.. thanks for leaving this on the blogspot But some of the feedback I've seen is very disturbing. Like this comment on a news site from a JUSD teacher: Remember, 60% of us voted for this measure, which in a rational world would qualify as a resounding victory. .. first of all Ian is NOT a Teacher.. Incorrect... why post something like that when you don't know the facts..but then again this is what you all do....
Disgusted Teacher May 05, 2011 at 03:25 AM
I am a teacher for JUHSD and I would like to thank those of you who voted for this. It is hard to imagine how any compassionate, intelligent, informed individual could say no to helping teens in his own community when it would cost a measly $8.00 a month. The kids in this community deserved better from the adults. Is it their fault the economy crashed in 2008? Is it their fault we are at war? Is it their fault for the banking and mortgage failings? Is it their fault that Republicans and Democrats are so divided and intent on winning that they have lost sight of what matters? I hope people like Robert and Chase Morgan Taggert (name says it all doesn't it?) enjoy living in a community with ignorant, undereducated, unemployable youth because that is what the schools will turn out. What do you think happens when you put 40 teenagers in a room after you have taken away art, music, drama and sports, and you continue to cut the pay and benefits of the adult who is in charge of their education and well being? I guess you will find out. Remember that you will reap what you sow.
Disgusted Teacher May 05, 2011 at 03:42 AM
And just to inform the ignorant like Robert and Chase -- the teachers in this district voted to take a paycut in order to save jobs and support staff. Have either of you ever done that? How many of you have a job that you continue to lose pay and benefits, yet your boss increases your workload year after year after year? I have window blinds that literally fall off the window and on to students, and no money to replace so I must tape paper to my windows so kids won't be blinded. I have no AC and have sat teaching in a class that read over 100 degrees on my thermometer. During rain storms, I have water coming through my walls and light fixtures. I have books I am using from 1989 and one from 1960, and we have no money to get more current issues. I am still using a VCR to show documentaries and the only way anyone can get modern equipment in their room is to buy it or get a much coveted grant. I had a manageable load of students at around 125-130, now you discuss giving me 200. I welcome any of you to come and do my job for one day, one day. After you have done that, then you can tell me your reasons for voting against the parcel tax.
Robert May 05, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Dear Disgusted Teacher: I own a small corporation. Yes, I've taken paycuts in bad years. Unlike you, I have to save every penny to make sure I can retire someday. I've not paid myself so my staff can get paid. A fully-loaded teacher earns about $125,000/year in wages and benefits. If a self-employed couple each earned that amount, they would be branded as "rich." But schoolteachers have managed to convince the world that they're poor! I have to pay all my "benefits" myself. I know where each penny comes and goes. I pay all sorts of taxes: corporate taxes, use taxes, property taxes on furniture in my office. Unlike you, who doesn't pay a penny in Social Security tax, I pay 15%/year. I've been paying the maximum into Social Security since 1984. As the owner of a small business I have to do all sorts of things. I clean toilets and patch leaks, too. I clean things, paint things, even though I am a mathematician running a technical consulting company. I work 75 hours/week, 6 days/week, 52 weeks a year. We have to jerry-rig things all the time. We have to work all night to meet contractual obligations. Even though I have a CPA, a bookkeeper, and a Tax Attorney, I personally have to spend about 4 hours/week just on tax compliance issues and related paperwork.
Bruce Hotchkiss May 05, 2011 at 02:10 PM
I think it is absurd that we quibble over how much teachers, public safety employees, and all public employees while we (yes we) pay professional athletes, entertainers, and CEOs billions. Our world is upside down, the gulf between the uber wealthy and the middle class is getting wider. Why don't we go after the real enemy?
Lena Robinson May 05, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Good question Bruce. I keep seeing the "live within your means" line/slogan/meme/mantra when the topic of public employees comes up. We need to start asking different questions.
Lena Robinson May 05, 2011 at 03:05 PM
And for a start, go see "Inside Job."
Zoe May 05, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Robert my husband is also self employed and has been hit very hard with the economy, again even with less dollars we choose to support education with $2.00 per week for 4 years, wish everyone would support education, or change the crazy laws of funding education in our state.
Gail Benjamin May 05, 2011 at 03:42 PM
When our schools perform well, our property is worth more and it takes $$$$$ to educate kids well and make our schools excellent. There is alot out of whack in our world these days but lets not penalize our kids by cheapening their education. It is ALL they have to give them a start in this whacky world. I am ready for ROUND 3!!!!!! Maybe the third time will be the winner. Never give up!! Gail Benjamin
Bruce Hotchkiss May 05, 2011 at 03:48 PM
Gail, Gail, Gail we don't want no educated kids. We're tired of sending jobs overseas; we need more of the unwashed masses right here in the good old USofA. Stop sending all those kids to college for god's sake, we cannot hire that many middle managers anymore. We need drones, uneducated drones.
Robert May 05, 2011 at 06:13 PM
1) It seems that you failed to mention in your piece that teachers don't pay into Social Security but also DON'T COLLECT Social Security either. Yes, and the California Teachers are busy trying to get laws changed so they can Double Dip: http://articles.ocregister.com/2010-01-05/education/24642001_1_social-security-full-retirement-government-pension 2) but I hope your CPA keeps you well informed of your many tax deductions for your many "business expenses" as well. I don't take any deductions that aren't legal. How dare you presume that the self-employed are all tax cheats, charging phony "business expenses: 3) How do you NOT pay yourself so your staff can get paid and still pay a maximum FICA since 1984? Because even though I may not pay myself during one cycle, I still hit the max by year's end 4) ou also get a tax deduction on half of it as an adjustment on your tax return. Not really. Ask a Productive friend about AMT
Robert May 05, 2011 at 06:15 PM
We have no caste system here. Teachers are free to quit their jobs and become CEOs, Football Stars, or Superintendents of School Districts.
Zoe May 05, 2011 at 08:02 PM
Wow.. and we are talking about supporting education with $2.00 per week... you would think we are asking to give up our first born.. :(
Steve Sinai May 05, 2011 at 08:28 PM
I stopped believing Robert when he said he spent 75 hours a week working.
Chris Fogel May 05, 2011 at 08:40 PM
It's tough to bootstrap your way to success when powerfull forces are doing everything they can to deny you access to boots. Decimating our retirement savings, turning our mortgages upside down, decrying single-payer UHC as a communist plot against America, failing to properly fund public schools, casting the public sector as The Enemy, destroying unions, otherwise controlling the public discourse to pit the lower/middle classes against themselves, the list goes on and on -- how is any of this fostering one's ability to rise to the top of their own accord?
Robert May 06, 2011 at 02:49 AM
- Decimating our retirement savings You're right! There's a WAR on savings! The Government is keeping interest rates artificially low to prop up house prices! - turning our mortgages upside down, This I don't understand. You get a mortgage. You owe the bank X dollars/month for N years. When you pay it up, the house is yours. Well, almost. If I don't pay my parcel tax you will take it away. Nobody turned mortgages upside down. People paid too much for their houses. And you people are saying I should vote for parcel taxes to make prices rise again! Sorry, but I'm for affordable housing. I want prices to drop some more! - decrying single-payer UHC as a communist plot against America, I am 100% for single payer universal health care. NO argument there - failing to properly fund public schools, California taxes in a LOT of tax revenue. 10.5% state income tax, 9.5% sales tax. The solution is getting Sacramento to allocate money more fairly. - casting the public sector as The Enemy, destroying unions, otherwise controlling the public discourse to pit the lower/middle classes against themselves, the list goes on and on -- how is any of this fostering one's ability to rise to the top of their own accord? I have belonged to Unions and I work with Union members every day. I have deep respect for them. I never said one word about Unions. All I said was "Parcel Taxes aren't a fair way to collect revenue. The state already collects enough revenue.
Bruce Hotchkiss May 07, 2011 at 02:42 PM
So many people seem determined to make some group the bogeyman - teachers earn too much, no it's the cops, you're crazy it's the firefighters, etc. Wow, 80 workers in Pacifica earned over $100,000! First let's stick to the facts not hyperbole. There may be a few workers who scam the system and earn more than is reasonable. Shame on them and shame on management that let's them get away with it. But discounting the small number that do let's acknowledge that it is expensive to live in the Bay Area. I earned $70,000 per year and I couldn't do it. That's another point here. So many are ready to trot out the salaries of public employees. Public employees' salaries are public information. I never had a problem with anyone knowing how much or how little I earned. But what about all of those who are quick to shout out a public employees' salary? Tell us how much you earn. And if you work for someone else don't forget to include benefits. The last figure I had from the state was that my benefits were equal to about 36% of my salary. Fair is fair folks.
Connie May 08, 2011 at 04:56 AM
Robert's blog is re: No on measure C in Cupertino, $250/that did pass. He posted on his blog, words from "Disgusted Teacher"'s post under the title "Schoolteachers Have No Idea What Work Is" saying on his blog "I got this curios note from a schoolteacher", as IF the note came into HIS blog, making it look like it came in as IF it were written re: Cupertino / from a Cupertino teacher. Not nice.
Laurie Frater May 08, 2011 at 06:56 AM
Norman, Put simply: Robert is misinformed! The actual numbers for every school and school district statewide are available online in the "School Accountability Report Card" series by School Wise Press. Bearing in mind that we live in one of the most expensive areas in the state, the average highest salary in 2009-10 at JUHSD schools was $73,943 versus $89,675 statewide. (The average for all teachers was $58,181 vs. $70,018.) In addition, JUHSD employees are required to contribute up to $16,002 per year towards benefits, depending on which type of health plan they choose. So much for Robert's "$125,000/yr"! It goes without saying that some of the measure C funds, had it passed, would have gone towards improving salaries for our woefully underpaid teachers. It's unfortunate that Robert and others make these wildly misleading claims -- particularly when the real numbers are so readily available!
Steve Sinai May 08, 2011 at 06:57 AM
I found that post you were talking about Connie, except that in reposting it, Robert bumped up the part about working 60 hours a week to 75 hours a week. http://noonmeasurec.blogspot.com/
Susan Grandfield May 10, 2011 at 04:15 AM
I am also a JUHSD teacher. We pay into our retirement (8% a month). We are paying for our benefits now-approximately $350 a month for my husband and myself for Kaiser-over $500 per month for a family-over $800 per month for Healthnet for a family. Our copays are $20 for Kaiser. I don't know where the $125,000 figure comes from, as our pay scale ends at about $70,000 (and that is the top-for those who have worked many years). We did take a pay cut. We will possibly take another. There will probably be layoffs. If we have a student load of 200 students per day,I can't imagine assigning an adequate amount of writing, particularly essays, as the grading burden would be overwhelming. Thus students will get less practice. And can I comment to the person who wrote about "double-dipping?" I PAID INTO into Social Security, I have all my quarters and I can only get a tiny amount of the money if I am receiving a (not large, unlike the media perception) teacher's pension.. But I can't get the money I was promised. This is an inequity that was created unintentionally by Congress in the 1980s-they did not anticipate the number of career change people and low-income women who would be hurt by the law. My husband paid the maximum in Social Security, but if he were to die, I couldn't receive a widow's pension. That would be because of my measly teacher's pension. I don't wish homeowners to have to bail out education; I think the state should come across with adequate funding.
Robert May 17, 2011 at 06:35 PM
WE HAVE BEEN CONNED! http://noonmeasurec.blogspot.com/2011/05/we-have-been-conned.html
Lena Robinson May 17, 2011 at 06:41 PM
How is having more money in our way underfunded public education a con? Please stay in your hole down there is Santa Clara County, Robert!
Charles May 19, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Public Schools: Make Them Private !!!!!!!!!!!!!! by Milton Friedman Milton Friedman, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976. http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-023.html
Charles May 19, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Privatization of a town’s public schools would solve many problems. It would reduce the cost of education and thereby lower property taxes used to support them. It would eliminate the need of a centralized state administrative apparatus, with its high-paying administrators and assistant administrators. It would free local schools to adopt learning programs that actually work, thereby improving student achievement. It would re-invent the idea of educational freedom, on the foundation of which this nation was built. It would also get rid of the stranglehold that the teachers’ unions have on the schools. www.thenewamerican.com/.../7366-should-the-public-schools-be-privatized
Bruce Hotchkiss May 19, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Ah yes Charles let's get rid of those pesky unions. What this country needs is a return to the 1880's or so, no rights for workers and the return of Robber Barons. In true American fashion let's throw the baby out with the bath water. And once we get rid of the unions (because they protect the evil) let's throw out the Consitution and civil rights. Did you know that our form of justice routinely protects the guilty? Damn, just shoot them all. Sorry if this seems like a rant - it is.


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