My Turn: Vote ‘yes’ on Measure A | SierraSun.com

My Turn: Vote ‘yes’ on Measure A

Patricia Gibbons-Johnson
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. – This letter is being written in support of the Measure A parcel tax election. Measure A is being voted upon currently by absentee voters and is the ballot measure for the March 8, 2011 election.

The argument against Measure A, in the ballot information, references a “capricious and unexplained increase” of 38 percent as an argument. My local friends have had similar questions. The increase from $98 a year to $135 a year was designed to retain the programs which have been shown to add great value to the opportunities for our local students. Measure A needed to be set at an amount which would allow seven years of funding. Therefore, it needs to account for increases in costs until it expires in 2019. This is $11.25 per month – a small price to pay.

The expenditures on Measure A are specifically monitored by a Citizens Review Committee. I can personally assure you that the schools using Measure A funds are required to submit detailed reports on the expenditures in each category of funds. This locally controlled funding source has made a crucial difference to our students.

We also in the Tahoe/Truckee area have a far more expensive educational system to operate well. Our district, which contains part of three counties, is 720 square miles. We are the second largest in total area in California. This diverse district has an extensive, well-managed transportation system to transport the majority of our students. Often the distances are significant. However, can you imagine most students walking to school? Transportation annually costs the district about $3 million, while we are reimbursed only $2 million. The additional maintenance, fuel and personnel costs just for this item leaves the district to use General Fund monies for this vital responsibility.

The district needs to remove snow and handle asphalt damage. The utilities cost more here in the mountains. Can you now appreciate that TTUSD, using district funds, has increased costs of doing business?

This campaign for Measure A is to protect our students’ education. As it is a tax, it requires 2/3 Yes votes. Without Measure A, the district will lose $4 million annually.

In addition there is the necessity of cutting non-Measure A expenditures by $2.25 million for 2011-2012 budget. The property tax revenues last year declined suddenly and we are significantly impacted now and for the next few years.

These are difficult times for many of us. Still, I respectfully request you to help us continue Measure A funds for our local schools.

Patricia Gibbons-Johnson is a former TTUSD trustee and member of the Measure A Citizens Review Committee.