Do Fremont voters support a parcel tax to help schools?

I’ve gotten a few phone calls/e-mails today from readers upset that the Fremont school board is thinking of asking voters to support a parcel tax in the midst of the largest recession since the Great Depression. Some also are upset that the board this week approved $105,000 in consultant fees, public outreach and a voter poll. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Consultant: $25,000
  • Educational materials: $60,000 (I’ve been told the materials will explain why the money is needed and how it will be spent, etc.)
  • Poll: $20,000

While writing the article, I anticipated that some people would take issue with the $105K expenditures, given the nearly $33 million in budget cuts that trustees preliminarily approved last month.

I asked board President Lara York if she felt the expenses are justified. Her comments did not make it into the article due to space and deadline constraints, but she said the board is being “extremely responsible” by spending a fraction of the total cost to place a measure on a ballot in order to gauge voter support before it commits to spending more money.

The poll will help determine what tax rate voters are most likely to support, as well as the district’s chances of passing a tax in November (or if another election cycle would be better).

In upcoming months, some of you will probably be surveyed about a parcel tax. I know the consultant that FUSD hired will conduct a more thorough and scientific poll, but til then, here’s your chance to weigh in on whether voters should support a tax.

Linh Tat