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Pasadena Unified puts parcel tax on May ballot

Pasadena residents will vote on a parcel tax for schools in May. The Pasadena school board unanimously voted to put the tax on the ballot at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. 

The levy would be $120 per residential and commercial parcel each year for five years, with exemptions for low-income seniors, officials said. It would raise an estimated $7.1 million annually beginning next fall.  

Like other California school districts, Pasadena Unified has suffered funding reductions because of the state’s ongoing budget crisis.

“When Sacramento fails to fund our schools by more than $20 million, we must take steps to ensure that every student continues to have access to a great education,” Pasadena school board President Tom Selinske said in a statement. He added that the money would be used to “attract and retain qualified teachers, protect college preparatory programs, keep libraries open and continue offering arts and music.”

Polling for the tax revealed potentially strong support for the measure, but also suggested the effort could be a close call. Parcel taxes require a two-thirds plurality. The Pasadena district includes the communities of Altadena and Sierra Madre.

Voters in the nearby and prosperous cities of La Cañada Flintridge, San Marino and South Pasadena recently approved parcel taxes, but the taxes have not fared so well in cities with a greater proportion of lower-income residents.

The action by Pasadena’s school board means that L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines, who lives in Pasadena, will be able to vote for a parcel tax, but it won’t benefit his own cash-strapped school system, the nation’s second largest. Cortines supports a try at a parcel tax for Los Angeles schools; the matter would have to come before the Los Angeles Board of Education in short order to reduce the effect of massive budget cuts planned for next year.

-- Howard Blume

Comments () | Archives (4)

The City of Pasadena with all the age old annual revenue generating events and schools paid for many times over should not levy the residents with the new proposed parscel tax. With todays economy in the dead end zone, the city administrators should tighten their belts now. Not have business as usual and raise taxes.
Most of the schools in the city are graduating students who are not able to cope with college as they have not met the standards. This is going on since the last three decades when I moved to Pasadena.
First improve the standards of education and get at least 50% of the students going to college and I assure you the residents will be happy to give more money.
The lack of proper education to our youth is pricipitating into gang activity and more expenses to our Police, Judiciary and other Juvinile deliquency regulators.
It costs the county over $100,000 a year for juvinile delinquents so I urge the school boards to focus and get good teachers and get rid of the dead wood. In todays job market it would not be difficult to hire good qualified teachers.

Congratulations to Pasadena school leaders for allowing the residents to take back control of their school district from Sacramento. This vote also allows the citizens of Pasadena to demonstrate their support for their schools. While LAUSD Superintendent may be able to exercise his decision in Pasadena, he has not shown the leadership in LAUSD to get the Board of Education to put the same opportunity on the ballot for LAUSD voters, especially parents who want good LOCAL schools. Get sole control away from Sacramento and its one size fits all mentality that doesn't support public schools without restrictive strings attached.

Is the Pasadena school board proposing a flat $120 per parcel tax?

If so, that would mean that a landlocked, unimproved, postage-stamp sized parcel with the lowest assessed value in the City of Pasadena will be charged $120.

An identical amount of $120 would be charged to the hotel, commercial office tower or multi-unit luxury apartment complex with the highest assessed value in Pasadena.

If it is approved, the new tax will be easy to calculate.

At the same time, it would represent a total abandoning of the principle of equity in levying taxes on real property.

My goodness, even our California state beverage container recycling program charges either a nickel or a dime deposit determined by the volume
of the container.

There is certainly one tactical advantage to the school boards novel approach
to taxation.

They need not worry about any of the city's major business or property interests contributing a nickel or a dime to finance a campaign against
this ballot measure.

The parcel tax is an incredibly cynical ploy by PUSD to use wedge politics in Pasadena.

Only about 1/2 the households in Pasadena are homeowning, this means if the tax is passed it will be paid by only 1/2 of the city. This Tax is incredibly undemocratic and regressive.



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