Tahoe/Truckee school officials prepare for next Tuesday’s Measure A vote
TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. andamp;#8212; The Measure A parcel tax is up for election next Tuesday, and while the school district is optimistic voters will approve it, officials also are preparing for the event it isn’t adopted.If Measure A does not receive the two-thirds majority vote to pass, it will likely be brought again for a special election in April 2012, with small revisions to the current ballot language, said Steve Jennings, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District superintendent.Jennings said the measure andamp;#8212; which, if approved, would raise the parcel tax from $98 per year to $135 and generate an estimated $4 million annually, and would be implemented starting with the 2012-’13 school year andamp;#8212; is absolutely critical for the school district considering recent drops in property tax revenues, potential state cuts and rising costs to maintain current programs.andamp;#8220;If it doesn’t pass, we will obviously have to regroup andamp;#8212; how the measure returns will depend on a lot of things, like how much it will be,andamp;#8221; Jennings said.While there are many supporters of the measure, there are also those who have criticized it for an apparent lack of transparency and accountability. One of those is Don Spano, the local accountant who wrote the argument against the measure, which appears on the ballot.In a recent My Turn column in the Sierra Sun, Spano said while he still has concerns about certain aspects of the measure, significant progress has been made with the school district to ensure the potential funding is spent wisely and measurably in a transparent way by its Citizens Review Committee.andamp;#8220;With my thanks to Superintendent Jennings, who reached out to me and to other members of the community about the andamp;#8220;No on Aandamp;#8221; stance, there has been meaningful recent progress made on a formal plan for accountabilities for outcomes, for results and effectiveness, from Measure A expenditures,andamp;#8221; Spano said in the column.Unlike language in the ballot asking residents to oppose the measure, Spano’s new view asks residents only to vote based on good judgment.andamp;#8220;What matters is that progress has been made,andamp;#8221; Spano said in the column. andamp;#8220;Voters now must vote their belief that these longer-range plans will become reality, that they will be executed and reported upon.andamp;#8221;Over the past few months, the measure has gained much positive momentum, in the form of andamp;#8220;vote yesandamp;#8221; letters and guest columns and endorsements from regional politicians and organizations, including Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens and the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors. It also has garnered a much-smaller amount of opposition, via a couple letters and nameless online commenters who argue residents should not be subject to tax increases during the current state of economic flux.Jennings said he has confidence that should funding be renewed, the Measure A Citizens Review Committee would do its best to ensure accountability.andamp;#8220;… They really take their job seriously and they always make sure there (is) a lot of accountability in place,andamp;#8221; Jennings said. andamp;#8220;They will continue to make sure they are representing the wishes of the taxpayers.andamp;#8221;
Stay tuned to http://www.sierrasun.com Tuesday night for live election updates as Measure A results roll in.While the information will come after press time for the Wednesday, March 9 print edition, look for full coverage in the Friday, March 11 edition.
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