Although a parcel tax for Burlingame elementary schools was just passed in November 2011, the is preparing for placing another money-raising measure on the November 2012 ballot.
Burlingame School District officials heard a presentation Tuesday night regarding a bond measure they plan to put before voters this fall, a year after a four-year parcel tax of $76 per year per parcel passed.
TBWB Strategies and Godbe Research representatives gave the presentation, reporting that 61 percent of voters approved the bond at the first ask. That number rose to 62 percent when residents received information about the bond.
The bond needs 55 percent voter approval to pass, so 62 percent lies just above the margin of error.
Although the district passed a parcel tax in 2011, growing enrollment and projected future enrollment increases, paired with state funding cuts, are at the heart of the district’s financial concerns.
“The driving factor behind this whole piece is [growing enrollment],” said School District Board of Trustees President Michael Barber.
While in past elections, like November 2011, district officials had the task of getting out the vote in support of the parcel tax, they face a different challenge in 2012.
Officials foresee the November ballot as a crowded one, especially with the Presidential election. Therefore, they can expect high voter turnout and must focus on increased public education regarding the bond measure.
“The bottom line is going to be about the measure, not getting people to come out to vote,” said Trustee Liz Gindraux. “It’s a different story.”
Community communication must move beyond parents to all Burlingame residents, ensuring they understand the importance of a bond measure for the future of Burlingame Elementary School District schools.
The board member approved moving forward with funding a tracking poll of the measure’s potential success.
Budgetary concerns were also addressed at the meeting when board members approved eliminating 14.5 full time equivalent positions, including classroom teachers and specialists, attributed to state budget cuts.
“This is being done with an abundance of caution by the district given the very uncertain state of the budget,” said Barber. “There’s hope that some of the people behind these numbers will be brought back.”
Under state law, districts must inform teachers by March 15 if they will be laid off. However, numbers of employees actually laid off are often altered before the final deadline of May 15. Even after that, teachers can be brought back over the summer once California legislators finalize the state budget.