Prop 13, and formation of the Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation | SierraSun.com

Prop 13, and formation of the Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation

Shelly Purdy
Special to the Sun

Editor’s note

The Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation is celebrating its 30-year anniversary this school year. Over the next several months, we will share stories about the foundation’s history.

Though California voters passed Proposition 13 nearly 40 years ago, the impacts of this landmark measure are still being felt today.

Proposition 13, originally promoted as tax reform, dramatically lowered property taxes to 1 percent of assessed value — with some exceptions for local governments to finance public debt.

This lowering of property taxes had a direct impact on school funding throughout California and many districts experienced a huge drop in their operating budgets, leading to cuts in programming.

Physical Education, art, music, elective courses, building maintenance and infrastructure, counselors, nurses and more were all cut from school budgets.

California rapidly went from ranking 7th in the nation on per-pupil spending to 50th. As the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District began to feel the crunch of reduced funding, a group of concerned citizens formed to pass a parcel tax in support of local education.

When the parcel tax didn’t pass, the citizens’ group encouraged voters who were in favor of the tax to donate $40 per parcel to help establish an education foundation — which is now the Excellence in Education Foundation.

Some of the members of this original group kept moving forward with efforts to pass a parcel tax, which was eventually successful – and is now what we know as “Measure A.”

This year, the Excellence in Education Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary. In the past 30 years, the impact of the foundation has grown tremendously.

From a small group of local citizens who wanted to help provide our schools with a way to bring back some of those “extras,” to an organization that now provides over $250,000 each year in the form of classroom grants and other resources to the teachers and students in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

Thanks to recent voter and legislature-led efforts, California has restored some of the funding resources lost by Proposition 13. California now ranks 29th in the nation on per-pupil spending.

Locally, with help from our district’s “Basic Aid” status and ballot initiatives like Measure A, our schools all provide P.E., art, music and a host of other elective courses. District-wide, thanks to Measures E and U, our school facilities are being upgraded to provide 21th Century Learning environments for all TTUSD students.

Recently, there have been efforts in the state legislature and even a proposed ballot measure that would change Proposition 13. None of those efforts have proven successful. Proposition 13 remains the law of the land in the State of California, and Tahoe Truckee is very fortunate to have the ongoing support of Excellence in Education.

Shelly Purdy is an Excellence in Education board member. For more information, visit exined.org.