San Carlos, Daly City school districts turning to ballot to stop the bleeding 

School districts in San Carlos and Daly City are hoping voters will soften the blow from state funding cuts by approving parcel taxes during a special all-mail election this month. The marquee contest for the May 3 special election is the race for an open San Mateo County supervisor seat, but the San Carlos School District and Jefferson Union High School District also have parcel taxes on the ballot.

San Carlos is hoping to extend its $110-a-year parcel tax, which first passed in 2003, for another eight years with Measure A. If voters don’t approve the measure with a two-thirds vote, the existing tax will expire in June, costing the 3,200-student district about $1 million a year out of its $25 million budget.

Administrators are counting on the renewal to ensure an estimated $1.35 million deficit in the upcoming school year budget, based on the latest state budget predictions, doesn’t grow larger, Superintendent Craig Baker said.

“We have so much we’re waiting on, including the passage of the parcel tax renewal,” Baker said. “That makes a huge difference.”

Jefferson Union High School District — which has 5,000 students and five schools in Daly City, Brisbane, Colma and Pacifica — is hoping to pass a new $96-a-year tax for the next four years. The tax would raise an estimated $3.5 million per year for the district, which had a parcel tax on the November ballot that narrowly failed.

In both cases, the parcel taxes cannot be spent on administrators’ salaries, and seniors age 65 or older can apply for an exemption.

Ballots for the all-mail election were sent out last week and must be received by the elections office by 8 p.m. May 3.

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

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Shaun Bishop

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