By Tim Hunt
Pleasanton parents--bring your checkbooksUploaded: Aug 21, 2012
How times have changed for Pleasanton Partnerships in Education.
When the organization was initially formedas major high-tech firms came to towndirectors reserved funding for "extras," not basic classroom instruction or aides. With the state revenues growing, but not close to the $100 billion levels that state spending was based on, funding to education has been reduced.
So, when parents go through the registration process this month, PPIE will be asking for substantial per-student donations--$350 for elementary-aged and $200 for middle school and high school. Last year, the suggested gift was $150 per student.
Non-profit officials cited the continuing cuts from the state as the key reason for the increase.
Schools and state universities face a fiscal cliff come the New Year if the governor's proposal for a one-quarter cent increase in the sales tax and a seven-year income tax hike on higher earners fails Nov. 8. The failure would trigger automatic cuts that were built in the budget the Legislature approved last June. Prudent districts have built budgets and employee agreements to plan for the cuts should they become necessary.
Polling has determined that voters value education despite the overall poor job that is being done in the public sector across the state.
With the way the governor and the Legislature designed the budget and tax bill, perhaps, Jerry should be re-titled the state's chief extortionist. He's moved ahead with the absurdly expensive and equally unnecessary high-speed rail with the first phase connecting nowhere to nowhere in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
Funding has been identified for less than 20 percent of the estimated cost. He's also pushing a necessary expensive project to fix the state's water supply in the fragile Delta.
So, despite spending this money, he wants to increase taxes to balance the budget. Any disconnect?
Of course, he's not alone in the drive to raise taxes. Unlike Pleasanton, which already has rejected a parcel tax, there are many other public agencies seeking tax increases on the November ballot.
Locally, that includes a $28 per parcel tax for six years from the Chabot Las Positas Community College District. San Ramon Valley voters will consider an $11 per parcel tax for the county-wide community college district (that includes Diablo Valley College and its San Ramon Valley Center in the Dougherty Valley) as well as a hefty $260 million rehabilitation and construction bond for the unified school district.
In addition, Alameda County voters will be asked to double the current one-half sales tax for transportation operations and improvements and make it a permanent tax. This second provision is reason enough to reject the proposal that was put on the ballot by all 14 cities in the county as well as the Board of Supervisors.
One reason the transportation tax program has worked well is the built-in accountability of having to return to the voters every 15 or 20 years to demonstrate their investment has been worthwhile.
The measure eliminates that accountability. If you don't think that's important, consider the oppressive regulation and fees that regional boards governed by politicians who are not directly accountable to the overall voters routinely pass. Those would be the air board, the transportation board and the association of governments for starters.