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Measure S becomes Measure A

ABHUTCHISON

Sierra Sun

Up for its fourth consecutive renewal in March 2001, the parcel tax that supports educational programs and equipment has a new name.

Known as Measure S for 12 years, the tax which raises approximately $2.5 million annually for school programming will now be called Measure A.

The four-year tax expires in June 2001, and when campaign organizers requested a special election in March 2001 for renewal, they were given the name Measure A by the Placer County Office of Elections because they were the first group to request a special election that year.

“We have all this name recognition with ‘S,’ said Paige Derdowski, co-chair of the Measure A Campaign Committee. “It’s been Measure S for 12 years.”

She said the committee tried to make a case to grandfather the name based on name recognition, but that didn’t work.

“We’re just really going to stress ‘Measure A formerly Measure S.’ Hopefully the election will not be about what it’s called, but what it’s about,” Derdowski said.

Truckee-Tahoe area voters have renewed the bond measure by the required two-thirds majority three times in a row, and Derdowski is hoping the success of the last three campaigns will be mimicked this coming year.

“It’s a little more difficult with the required two-thirds to pass, but the community has shown it’s important to them,” she said.

Measure A currently pays for additional classroom equipment and supplies, vocational education equipment, academic electives at all high school and middle schools, computers and computer classes, music programs and equipment, librarians and books, elementary PE classes and equipment, science equipment, elementary school counselors, nursing services and playground maintenance.

Campaign organizers stress that the parcel tax, which costs approximately $7 per parcel or $60 a year per parcel, is community-directed and controlled and the money is raised locally, managed locally and benefits local children. A citizen’s review committee was formed to make sure the money is spent on the categories that were specified to the voters.

Derdowski said there will be a slight rise in the proposed renewal tax based on a community-wide study that asked residents what they wanted to see funded in local schools. The rise will cost voters approximately $80 per parcel if passed.

New additions to Measure A include more vocational education classes and equipment, more high school academic electives, more funds to replace and maintain computers at all schools, reduced fourth and fifth grade class sizes, more playground and field maintenance, more middle school academic electives and a bus replacement fund.

“Communities that have passed parcel taxes to increase educational programs in their schools, have increased property values because property values go up where public schools are noted for high achievement,” Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District Superintendent Pat Gemma said. “We gain a lot of high achievements as a result of our parcel taxes.”

He said that if the measure fails before voters in 2001 the district would have to send out a tremendous amount of lay-off notices to district staff.

“It would be a huge step backwards in our educational program,” Gemma said.

In January volunteers will begin doing mailings to kick off the publicity campaign. Organizers hope to push absentee voting, where voters may vote earlier and in the convenience of their own homes.

The campaign’s only major fund-raiser, the Fall Fiesta held at Alpine, raised $40,000, more than organizers expected.

For voter information regarding Measure A, call (530) 550-8997.


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