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Livermore Valley United School District measure: parcel tax goes to ballot box | Schools / Education

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LIVERMORE – The United School District of Livermore Valley (LVJUSD) is asking residents to approve a special voting measure that will extend the annual parcel tax of $ 138 to fund science and technology programs for another seven years.

Representatives of LVJUSD say that without the tax extension through measure A on May 3, the tax will expire on June 22, which will cost the district about $ 4 million a year as necessary funding for elementary school research programs and technology professionals.

“It started about 18 years ago when the community expressed a desire for an additional program at the elementary school level in science,” said LVJUSD assistant superintendent Chris Van Shaak. “The community thought, ‘We want more.’ It was “more”.

Funding, Van Shaak said, allows the district to hire qualified science teachers and technology specialists, maintain modern technology and curricula, and prevent an increase in the number of classes. If Measure A fails, the county is already working on contingency plans that include layoffs.

Voting will take place entirely by mail, with no sites for personal voting. Voters were already required to receive information packs and ballots, which must be stamped no later than May 3 and received at the Alameda County Registry no later than May 6.

Voters three times – in 2004, 2010 and 2014 – approved the parcel tax, which requires a two-thirds majority. Proponents say the tax – $ 138 since its inception – will remain in that amount, so it’s not a tax increase. Residents 65 years and older may request exceptions.

The last approval, when it was measure G, received 72% approval.

For many families, Van Shaak said, programs have become an important component in elementary school, increasing students ’curiosity and development through hands-on experiments.

“This program we are proposing is supreme and it is a way to fund it,” Van Shaak added.

Opponents of Measure A, including the Alameda County Taxpayers Association (ACTA) and the Livermore Valley Taxpayers Association, said the tax was unnecessary and was used to inflate the salaries of administrators.

“Don’t be fooled by the empty promises of this new tax,” wrote Marcus Crowley, ACTA president, in his argument against the measure. “This measure promises to ‘attract and retain qualified teachers.’ The measure does not allow to determine the budget of new teachers, the number of new teachers, or even a plan that shows how the district will achieve the goal of attracting qualified teachers.

Crowley said the parcel tax “does not define the responsibilities, qualifications or standards of work of technology professionals” and argued that the threat of layoffs is not legal.

“Voters should call this a bluff and vote against this parcel tax, mostly in favor of the bureaucracy,” Crowley said. “Voters and parents of students need to develop a new civic initiative that defines clear special tax targets and reduces the salaries of arrogant administrators.”

Alan Hackman, a Livermore resident and ACTA member, sued the district in February, claiming the vote wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars because it took place a month before the June 7 primaries in California. His lawsuit also alleges that the language of the ballots misled voters. Alameda County Judge Frank Roche ruled in favor of LVJUSD and allowed the election to continue.

In an interview, Hackman said school officials are spending money on excessive salaries of administrators in a mediocre area that does not attract young families.

Hackman said he was concerned that postal voting in the snap election would stifle voting. Some voters, he said, may appear at polling stations to vote and find they cannot.

“The whole strategy is to keep quiet and have as few people as possible vote,” he said.

Van Shaak said the May 3 snap election was necessary because the state education code requires the county to send notice of dismissal to employees by May 15. Voting on June 7 would be too late, and many of these teachers – eager to teach science – could look for other jobs in times of uncertainty.

The district, he said, would have held elections last year, but did not because of the pandemic.

District officials deny that the funds received from the parcels go to the bank accounts of administrators.

“It’s just a lie. This is a complete lie, ”Van Shaak said.

LVJUSD Chairman Craig Bueno said residents of the district, including a large concentration of parents who worked in Lawrence Livermore and Sandia’s labs, want a strong science and technology education for their children.

“The vast majority of the community is supportive,” Bueno said. “The thing is, that’s what kids really benefit from.”

He said the parcel tax, which has not risen since its inception, would also allow Livermore to keep the kindergarten until third grade, which has no more than 25 students.

In case of failure the district will lose this ability and lose science professionals. Bueno reiterated that the money does not go to administrators or guardians, and the costs are carefully reviewed by a oversight committee that meets quarterly.

“There have been no arguments against her in the last three times,” Bueno said. “It was very supported.”

However, in a letter published March 30 in The Independent, Livermore resident Jackie Cat urged not to vote.

“The parcel tax is no longer needed,” Kota said. “Over the last 18 years, we’ve had a lot of government details and county taxes that apply to“ children, ”and if they don’t, we need a new leadership … to live within our means. Better manage our money! ”

However, Livermore resident Will Maceda, who called himself a member of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), wrote in a letter published March 30 to The Independent that he supports the parcel tax. Macedo said he served on supervisory committees, and “not a penny of our local parcel tax is used for salaries or benefits to administrators.”

“I believe that supporting quality education is a smart investment that protects our home values ​​and makes Livermore a desirable place for families to live,” Macedo said. “Measure A deserved my support.”

However, his organization did not support Macedo’s support.

HJTA President John Kupala issued a statement in response to a letter from Macedo stating that the tax association “did not approve measure A proposed by the Livermore School District”. The HJTA, Kupala said, has not issued an official position on the measure because the organization does not have the ability to test all measures in the state.

“We are categorically against anyone referring to the name of our organization to suggest otherwise,” Kupala said.

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