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February 9, 2004

For More Information, Contact:
Daryl Savage at (650) 688-6384


PALO ALTO – All 23 school districts in San Mateo County have pledged their support on a measure to lower the threshold needed to approve a school parcel tax. They join 138 other school districts around the state in support of State Assembly Constitutional Amendment, ACA 4, authored by Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto).

ACA 4 allows local school districts to approve a local parcel tax with a super-majority vote of 55 percent, rather than the two-thirds majority currently required. “Given inadequate state funding for our schools, this is a way to let local communities make local choices about local needs,” said Simitian.

“It’s more important than ever to increase local control over education dollars. ACA 4 does that,” said Simitian. “It’s essential that we maintain quality education in this state, and the issue of funding is key,” he said.

As recently as last June, parcel tax measures throughout the State failed even though they garnered a majority of the vote, noted Simitian.  From San Jose to Half Moon Bay, majorities supported new funds for education, but measures failed the two-thirds requirement.

“ACA 4 will help more school districts to get parcel taxes approved by voters.  As this year’s budget debate continues in Sacramento, ACA 4 is a tool that local districts can use to protect themselves from state budget cuts,” Simitian said.

“We have supported this since day one. ACA 4 gives us more flexibility and local control. Given the State’s current financial crisis, we need this measure and we need it now,” said Sequoia Union High School Board Member Don Gibson.  “Assemblyman Simitian had the insight to get the ball rolling. I hope his colleagues will put the measure on the ballot so the voters can decide,” he said.

“We need to keep our schools strong. Lowering the threshold a little for local parcel taxes will help preserve the gains we’ve made with class-size reduction, and ensure funding for critical programs,” Simitian said.