Jul 30, 2014

Council Members Vote to Support Measure S

Council members said the parcel tax is a city issue, not just a school issue.

Council Members Vote to Support Measure S

After an evening volunteering at the phone banks, where he asked residents to vote for Measure S, Superintendent Joel Shapiro stood before City Council and explained why members should support the parcel tax. 

"We need to consider the long term fiscal stability of our district, and maintain programs we’ve worked so hard to keep,'' Shapiro said Wednesday.

Council members voted 5-0 to approve a resolution supporting the parcel tax measure.

Ballots should be landing in residents' mailboxes any time now. Voters will be asked to renew Measure S, which expires in June. If renewed, the five-year parcel tax will increase from $288 to $386 per unit (whether single home or apartment complex). The ballots are to be mailed to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's office by March 12.

Voters must approve the measure by a 66.7 percent majority. Back in 2009, more than two-thirds of voters approved it. 

The money generated means about $2 million for South Pasadena Unified School District. Back in December when the board approved the renewal, Assistant Superintendent presented a budget report that showed a bleak financial situation if the parcel tax fails: 39 positions would be eliminated, class sizes would increase and more programs would be cut. 

Shapiro on Wednesday called the parcel tax passage "critical'' to maintain a quality community, which is bolstered by a quality school system. He pointed out, however, that people on disability and people over the age of 65, or anyone who turns 65 during the life of the tax, are exempt from paying.

Council member Philip Putnam pointed out it some people might find it odd that the City Council is weighing in on a school board measure. He explained that the city's high property values are inexorably linked to a quality school district. 

"A quality... public school system has a huge impact on the quality of life of a city. This is a city issue, not just a school issue,'' Putnam said.

Follow South Pasadena Patch on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for our Newsletter.

Don’t miss updates from Patch!