I’ll have a story in Saturday’s paper about Measure K — a parcel tax to support Fremont schools.
After doing a little research for the story, the only question I really wanted to ask district officials was a softball: Why the heck didn’t they ask for more money?
The district is asking all property owners except seniors to fork over $53 per property over five years. That’ll come out to about $3.3 million — enough to potentially maintain library hours and maybe some instructional specialists, but nowhere near enough to make up the the $24 million in state funding the district has lost over the last two years.
If Measure K passes Fremont would be the ninth district in Alameda County with a parcel tax to help fund schools. I looked at every parcel tax election in the county over the last 10 years.
Fremont’s $53/parcel Measure K is by far the lowest.
Here’s the tale of the tape:
Dublin — $96 per parcel
Livermore —- $138 per parcel
Alameda — $120 per parcel
Emeryville — 10 cents per square foot, so the owner of a 1,600 sq. ft. home would pay $160
Piedmont — $1,141 for a parcel under 5,000 sq. ft. / $1,479 for parcel under 10,000 sq. ft.
Oakland — $195 per parcel, and they’re asking for a second $195 per parcel tax this year
Albany — $250 per residential parcel
Berkeley — Don’t even ask. They already have two separate parcel taxes and it’s a lot of money
There you have it: Fremont’s $53 per parcel tax would be nearly half the next lowest parcel tax to help fund schools.
But what about all those overpaid teachers who can’t get laid off?
Well, remember that the City of Fremont pays nearly an additional 30 percent on top of every cop and firefighters salary just to fund their pensions.
Teacher pensions aren’t so generous The district pays 6 to 7 percent on top of teacher salaries to fund their pensions, according to the district.
So why isn’t Fremont Unified asking for more money?
It doesn’t think it can get it. Polls showed a $68 per parcel tax failing to get the two-thirds majority required for passage.
And Fremont likely voters — like most likely voters — tend to be older. About 80 percent of Fremont likely voters don’t have kids in the district.
And there’s the example of Newark. Only one schools parcel tax in the county failed to win at least 50 percent of the vote over the past decade. Fremont’s neighbor asked voters for $150 per parcel in 2003. It only got 49.3 percent of the vote.