Roundup of what folks are saying today about the passage of the Measure B parcel tax last night. Will be updated as I get more reaction.
***Updated at 12:30 with comments from Shayne Silva and Art Kapoor.
***Updated 4:15 with comments from Teresa Gerringer
Lafayette School District Superintendent Fred Brill:
This is a testament to the hard work, the commitment of the parents of our community, and especially when we consider that 80 percent of our registered voters do not currently have kids in our schools. What that tells us is, a) we know that this is a community of really high standards, they have profound expectations for what we provide for ours students and children in the community, but they are also willing to do what’s necessary to support us, as evidenced by 74.3 percent approval. So they’re saying, provide the best education that you can provide, the best opportunities for the kids, and we’re willing to support you even in really tough economic times, even when there is a lot of anti-tax sentiment in the country.
School board President Shayne Silva:
I am just so pleased for the children of Lafayette, I can’t tell you, and it’s such a tribute to our community that they recognize the importance of well-educated children. And our volunteers were awesome. To get the kind of percentage that we did is incredible. … We have a community that pulls together for the kids.
School board Clerk Stephenie Teichman:
Obviously we’re extremely gratified by the support of the community in such a strong way, and now that Measure B is passed we’re hoping to start focusing again on the actual work of education and curriculum development for the betterment of our students.
Trustee Art Kapoor:
The passage of Measure B really helps in terms of handling the future, whatever that may be. It just doesn’t look very good coming from the state i just cant imagine a scenario at this point where they’re suddenly going to find a ton of money and make the school districts whole, and so the only way that school districts can really be masters of their own fate is to find other sources of revenue and really legally the only options that are available to school districts are parcel taxes. … It’s such a tribute to the citizens of Lafayette that they feel so strongly about the importance of schools that they passed it with such a high rate. We didn’t just clear the bar, we went way over the top and it’s really gratifying. It’s a wonderful community to be a part of.
Trustee David Gerson:
I was not surprised because I believed that Lafayette would come out and support Measure B ,and I think the result is evidence that we do have broad community support for our schools, so I’m very heartened by that.
Emailed statement from Trustee Teresa Gerringer:
My heartfelt thanks goes out to the Lafayette community, who even in these tough economic times, recognized the real need for additional public education funding and continued their long-standing support of our students and schools. Now that Measure B has passed, I look forward to continuing to work with the citizens of Lafayette, both Measure B supporters and opponents, to channel the debate in to finding real solutions to the challenge of providing adequate, stable public education funding.
Measure B co-coordinator Juleen Lapporte (Tuesday night):
We’re just trhilled that L is supporting education.
Measure B co-coordinator Corinne Christiansen (Tuesday night):
The biggest thing is thank you Lafayette, it really is. It shows a community that cares. … I’m really grateful for the people who put up with all our pestering. Thank you Lafayette.
Emailed statement Tuesday night from Measure B opponent Larry Pines:
Facing well over $60,000 in PTA and other Measure B contributions, plus the City of Lafayette effectively outlawing public election signs, and the consultant-driven LSD Administration controlling the channels of communication advocating for the tax to anxious parents through their email system, it’s hard to get any message across to would-be voters that this 10th school tax for Lafayette is unfair to property owners. Moreover, expensive Special Elections guarantee very low voter participation, and skew the outcome toward passage.
In handing out purely aged-based senior exemptions, the District in effect “buys” the senior vote – a very reliable voting block — which in turn puts more financial pressure on everyone else; and, in the long-term will make it more difficult to continue passing such taxes. In effect, the parents are just taxing themselves more. In claiming that this 508% increase in the elementary parcel tax over 10 years is a “stable source of funding”, proponents seem to forget that our property tax bills may be viewed as more “stable” by those that don’t have to pay, like seniors and non-homeowners.
Seniors now make up almost 30% of Lafayette homeowners and their number is growing. With over half now opting out and more each day as they see the tax growing rapidly, the schools are just imploding by allowing them to opt out. Pretty soon 70% of the residents (of which about half are parents) will be paying for 100% of the school taxes.
Lafayette Citizens for Tax Fairness will continue to strive for tax fairness in this and all future local tax measures effecting our residents.