Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ojai Council Back OUSD's Tax

Vote unanimous to support Measure P’s $89 per parcel for local schools

By Nao Braverman
With more than $1 million cut from the Ojai Unified School District’s annual budget, local officials publicly agreed at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, that they believe the community needs to step up and take care of its own schools.
Council members voted in unanimous support of Measure P, which would allow the school district to levy a tax of $89 per parcel within the district boundaries for seven years. The measure, intended to bring the school district out of a devastating financial crisis, is the school district’s last resort, according to school board President Steve Fields.
“We have come to the end of our road,” he said. “We spent much of last spring holding public meetings to discuss potential cuts needed to close this year’s budget gap. We made significant cuts to many areas, including transportation and food service. We were able to keep all of our community schools open and maintain our class sizes. I don’t see how we can make any more cuts this coming year that won’t dramatically impact our children’s education.”
School district officials estimate that the parcel tax could bring in around $400,500 each year for the district’s depleted budget, although the estimate is very rough, said Mike Caldwell, chairman of the committee to get Measure P passed.
The numbers are hard to estimate since the proposed parcel tax would offer an exemption to seniors 65 years and older. With roughly 9,000 parcels in the district boundaries, the school board estimated that about half of them are seniors. That gives them a ballpark figure of about 4,500 parcels at $89 per parcel. The seniors who want the exemption would have to take the initiative to apply for it themselves.
But Caldwell says it was important to allow seniors, particularly those who are on a fixed income or are living solely on Social Security, to opt out.
When a parcel tax measure for the school district failed to pass about three and a half years ago, that was partially because many local seniors campaigned against it, he said. The previous measure proposed a higher parcel tax of $150 per parcel, he said.
“This measure is asking for a very minimal number compared to the current needs of the school district,” said Caldwell.
But Measure P’s proponents are making it as digestible as possible since it needs a two-thirds majority vote to get passed.
With the school district facing financial shortfalls because of the compounded results of the dramatic drop in enrollment and unreliable state and federal funding, the parcel tax the need for funds is urgent, said Fields.
“I know some people question supporting a parcel tax if they don’t have children in the school district,” said Fields. “However, I believe strongly that a community cannot be a healthy vibrant community without a good school system. Good schools maintain property values. Good schools provide workers for our local businesses. And good schools ensure that our next generation will be able to tackle the huge issues that they surely face.”
The school district has already made dramatic cuts in administration and staff and has seen salaries fall in comparison with others throughout the county, said Fields. While the Save Ojai Schools campaign and Ojai Education Foundation have raised considerable funds, they are not enough to maintain the quality education that the school district has offered to local students to this date.
The measure states that it is proposed in order to maintain small class sizes with highly qualified teachers, and keep the existing arts programs, libraries and schools, all which would be in jeopardy without additional funds, according to Fields.
“Clearly this is an issue that faces our community that is of utmost importance,” said Mayor Sue Horgan. “The school board members have done a great job at trying to manage this impossible situation. It is going to take a two-thirds vote to pass, which is difficult to accomplish. I believe so strongly in this important measure.”
Council members agreed and a motion to support the measure was passed unanimously.


Anonymous said...

Many of those over 65 are also the wealthiest people in the Ojai Valley. Why not base who pays on income? Why age?

(that was rhetorical, we all know why another attempt at passing the bond was structured this way)

I'm voting no. Sell an unneeded school campus. Cut a sports program. Here is a sixth grade equation:

$89 * 4,500 parcels = $400,500 projected bond revenue / $25,000,000 OUSD budget = 1.6%. Pardon my skepticism that OUSD can manage their budget that close.

Is there any problem public schools and teacher's unions face that DOESN'T call for more money, or the world will end?!?!! I really hope it doesn't pass. The world won't end.

Anonymous said...

$89.00 seems reasonable, excluding seniors is a must. However it,s not that easy. My husband and I are both graduates from Nordhoff. Class of 1973&1979, Ojai is our home town.We have a small home that,s on 3.5 acres. Our property has 11 parcels. The $89.00 tax increase for the few chosen Ojai residents if passed. Will increase our property tax by $979.00 per year.Thats $6,853.00 over the next seven years. Iam very involved in my childrens education.Both will graduate from Nordhoff. I give 110% to my kids education and would gladly give the $89.00"To Save Ojai Schools". However its not $89.00.Tim Baird is very much aware of the financial burden he is trying to impose on Ojai familys.During the measure 5 campaign in 2005, at summit school. I addressed Tim with my fear of a 1,650 a year tax increase. He simply said Im sure I pay more in taxes than you even with the tax increase. I understand the panic placed on all public school parents. Iam one of you,the need for revenue is real. However forcing property owners to increase thier already outrageous property taxes. Which by the way already support the Ojai Unified School Distric. Is not only wrong,it will tear our community apart.

Anonymous said...

This very minimal tax can be raised at anytime.It can also be extended at any time Check out measure p on google.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think our seniors are going to buy this pity party.Fix income, social security,opt out. Our seniors own this town don,t think for one minute your doing them a favor.All your doing is hoping you can get them to vote in favor and never get around to appealing to the tax man for an exemption.

Anonymous said...

Many of those over 65 are also the wealthiest people in the Ojai Valley.

Are you talking about the ones who can be seen at Von's and Starr Market the day they cash their Social Security Checks, trying to decide whether they can afford to buy the one pound bag of Springfield brand white rice, or if they should be conservative and stick with the 8 oz. bag? You mean those wealthy seniors?

Anonymous said...

vote no! Stop educating the illegals.

Anonymous said...

Are you talking about the ones who can be seen at Von's and Starr Market the day they cash their Social Security Checks, trying to decide whether they can afford to buy the one pound bag of Springfield brand white rice, or if they should be conservative and stick with the 8 oz. bag? You mean those wealthy seniors?

This example doesn't exist in the U.S. Rice is about the cheapest foodstuff there is, do you know how many meals you can make from one pound of rice? Your hyperbole has turned on itself.

We are talking about homeowners over 65 who live in Ojai. Not Mumbai or Lagos.

Anonymous said...

This example doesn't exist in the U.S.

You're pretty uninformed if you actually believe this. There are hundreds of seniors who are barely surviving. Get involved with HELP if you want to know who some of them are.

Anonymous said...

Why not base it on income? Why age?

Bottom line: there is nobody starving in the U.S. If a senior in Ojai can't figure out if they can afford one pound of rice but owns their own home, they should be with HELP for dementia.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line: there is nobody starving in the U.S.

You don't get around much, do you?

Live Free or Die said...

Cost of parcel tax: $89

Cost of a bag of 8 oz rice: $1.

Cost of having the genius of James Hatch at Ojai's disposal: Priceless.

Anonymous said...

The previous post proves my earlier statement: livefreeordie=james hatch.

Someone forgot which account they were logged onto when they wrote that comment, didn't they? Oopsie.

No, don't even bother with the lame demurrals. You're busted, "James", now and forever.

Carry on, though. I wouldn't you.

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul: Bailout Will Destroy Dollar, World Economy

Anonymous said...

Protests on Wall Street - what the news media isn’t showing you

James Hatch said...

Not so fast, Anonymous 5:13. You can choose to remain hidden in the dark by jumping to obviously false conclusions. James Hatch lives free, but I am not live free or die.

James Hatch stands for freedom, justice, and the American way. You stand for simple, unfounded conclusions. James Hatch studies the issues. You have baseless knee jerk reactions. James Hatch knows the upsides and the downsides of each argument. You are blinded by your onesidedness.

After weighing the pros and cons, I come up with real solutions, real plans that make the world and this town a better and safer place.

James Hatch fights for the common man. You fight for the subordination of the many for benefit of the few.

Anonymous said...

You're so full of crap that it seeps, and you're just not worth responding to beyond telling you that you're not worth responding to.

Anonymous said...

A person who called into c-span got it right when he said.
Caller: "We know exactly where they came up with the $700 Billion. It is to pay China the outstanding debt we owe them. They have loaned us money and now they want it back."

Is that why the International bailout clause is in this bill?

This is a bailout for Bush's China debt!

James "Anonymous Slayer" Hatch said...

I will respond to you to let you know that I won't respond to you. Since you are not worth responding to, I will respond to you by telling you that you are not worth responding to . . . and on and on and on. But, oh yeah, I will respond to you by saying that I think you are full of it.

Anonymous, is your mind getting dizzy yet from spinning in circles?

James Hatch is a master of logic. A true indicator of a vanquished debater is their sad referral to personal attacks and name calling. When you don't have the law, you try with the facts, and when you don't have either, resort to mudslinging.

Congratulations, Anonymous, your own words have established my superiority. Your silence will serve as acknowledgement.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What a jerk. Get over yourself, "slayer".

Anonymous said...

What in the hell does any of this BS have to do with measure P. Let me GUESS your a member of tims play group.

Anonymous said...

Did you know the PTO IS paying for the bumper stickers. To vote in favor of measure P.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Bottom line: there is nobody starving in the U.S.
You don't get around much, do you?
September 27, 2008 9:31 PM

Please. The only reason anybody misses a meal in the U.S. is because they are passed out drunk or stoned.