Measure would reverse some school cuts

Voters may catch a case of déjà vu on the Tuesday’s ballot.

The school parcel tax Measure P is nearly identical to the measure voters shot down in May 2007: Both cost $78 per parcel, need two-thirds approval to pass and come when the 2,100-student Millbrae Elementary School District is facing trying financial times.

The May 2007 measure may have narrowly failed, but the district’s financial problems, including $1.8 million in cuts during the last five years, have not gone away. Passage of the tax would bring anywhere from $400,000 to nearly $500,000 to the district to help restore some of the services and positions lost during the cuts, which represented 12 percent of the district’s budget and included departments such as music, library and technology.

The largest difference between the two tax efforts may be the formation of a group of parents that has mobilized to ensure the passage of this year’s measure. Last year, parents admitted that most people passionate about the tax assumed the measure would pass with ease and figured a campaign was unnecessary.

This time around, the parent group called Friends of Excellent Millbrae Schools has raised $25,000 and garnered the endorsements of local Democratic leaders U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, state Sen. Leland Yee and Assemblymember Gene Mullin.

“I think people understand that good schools are good for our community and our property values,” said Svetlana Vaksberg, co-chair of the group.

No groups have emerged to oppose Measure P. The slumping economy, as well as the city’s history of already voting against a nearly identical measure last year, however, has supporters “cautiously optimistic.”

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

Measure P

The initiative needs two-thirds approval to pass.

$78: Proposed annual tax

$400,000 to $492,648: Money district would earn annually from tax

Five: Years the tax would last

Two-thirds: Vote needed to pass

64.4: Percent of voters who approved May 2007 failed parcel tax

6,316: Parcels in Millbrae subject to the tax, including exempt seniors

$25,000-$30,000: Cost to put tax on ballot

$25,000: Funds raised by measure’s supporters

$1.8 million: Money cut from district in last five years

Source: Millbrae Elementary School District

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