Voters in Millbrae and Pacifica defeated two education parcel taxes Tuesday night, a disappointing outcome for the cash-strapped districts that sought extra funds from the voters for fiscal recovery.
Measure Q would have raised Pacificans’ property taxes by $96 annually for an estimated $1 million in additional annual revenue for the Pacifica School District. The measure came away with 58.48 percent of the vote, shy of the required 66.7 percent needed to pass.
Measure R, a similar parcel tax that would have raised property taxes by $78 annually, would have raised nearly $493,000 for the Millbrae School District. It also failed with only 64.44 percent.
The San Mateo County Elections Office tallied the results Tuesday of a special mail-in election for the measures. They reported that approximately one-third of voters in each city participated in the election. Ballots, which were due at the elections office at 8 p.m. Tuesday, went out nearly a month ago to voters in each city.
Millbrae School District board of trustees President Caroline Shea said while the election results wasn’t up for discussion at the board meeting this week, the board is going to have to sit down and talk seriously about possible budget cuts in the upcoming year now that the measure has failed.
“Maybe next year we can get it on the ballot again,” parent Frank Barbaro said. “We came so close,it’s a real heartbreaker to lose. The people who really come out on the losing end are the children.”
The new revenue stream in Millbrae would have been used to restore, among other things, music programs and custodial positions, which were included in the $1.8 million cuts over the last four years. In Pacifica, the approved tax would go toward staff retention and teacher outreach, among other day-to-day operating costs, Superintendent James Lianides said.
Declining enrollment has not been a problem in Pacifica, which has seen a boost of approximately 20 students this school year, Lianides said. However, the district has still been working under a deficit for the last three school years, spending some $170,000 more annually than they expected.
“The state funding isn’t keeping up with our ongoing costs,” Lianides said.