Measure A: $3.7 million parcel tax could jeopardize school programs |

Measure A: $3.7 million parcel tax could jeopardize school programs

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Under election anxieties and state budgetary woes, school district officials are gauging voter opinion on the idea of renewing the annual $3.7 million parcel tax that funds teacher jobs and school programs.

Sitting in his new office at the Sierra Mountain Community Education Center, Steve Dickinson, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District superintendent of finance, described the annual tax and#8212; unknown of by many and#8212; as a crucial funding source to the district and one that would drastically cut resources if not renewed by the end of Measure Aand#8217;s term in 2012.

and#8220;The current economic conditions for Tahoe and Truckee donand#8217;t look good,and#8221; Dickinson said and#8220;If the district did not receive that $3.7 million a year, inevitably, we would have to balance that with expense reductions equal to that.and#8221;

Evaluating the districtand#8217;s reserve funds, he explained even if the district wanted to completely supplement the funding with reserves, at best, it would only last two years before the districtand#8217;s roughly $7.6 million in reserves would completely drain.

and#8220;Having a healthy reserve allows us to maybe buy a little bit of time to help cushion that loss, but ultimately weand#8217;d have to reduce expenditures by that amount and#8212; $3.7 million.and#8221;

Recalling the districtand#8217;s 2009 budget cuts and resulting teacher layoffs where the district had to slice $3.8 million due to state budget cuts, Dickinson said trustees would have to make some very hard decisions. Comparing TTUSD to other districts in California, Dickinson said there are telling signs of possible outcomes.

and#8220;I can only speculate that it would be the reduction of the majority of the things Measure A funds because in most districts that donand#8217;t have a parcel tax you donand#8217;t find those extra things,and#8221; Dickinson said.

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