School Board Ponders Timing of Tax-Renewal Vote

The San Marino Unified School District Board of Education is weighing its options for its plans to call an election next spring on a renewal of one of its two parcel taxes.
District staff will prepare schedules of deadlines as they relate to each of the possible dates and present them for board consideration and the next meeting. The options are Feb. 5, Feb. 12 and Feb. 26, although the county discouraged the latter because of a holiday.
“They were suggesting February dates because, if the parcel tax is not successful, the board may need to take actions for personnel reductions,” explained Julie Boucher, assistant superintendent of business services, at the board meeting last week.
Those dates also were selected with the board’s meeting schedule in mind; the district has a March 15 deadline to signal any personnel layoffs for the next fiscal year and would need to do so in public session.
The tax facing renewal, the Measure R Parcel Tax, generates $1.593 million in revenue annually, funding 13 full-time teaching positions and one part-time position. Per a separate report at the meeting, the tax specifically funds the salaries and benefits for a high school counselor, two elementary school teachers, a middle school English teacher, a middle school math teacher, two middle school science teachers, a high school social science teacher, two high school math teachers, a site technician/media specialist at the middle school, a media specialist at the high school, a district network analyst and a part-time world language teacher at the high school.
The district would presumably have to lay off those employees if renewal fails.
“If it does not pass, then these positions would be eliminated,” Superintendent Alex Cherniss said after reviewing the report.
Although the tax, which was first levied in 1991 and most recently renewed in 2013, has traditionally run for six years at a time, the board has the option of modifying its duration.
The board will have to adopt a resolution formally calling the election at least 88 days prior to the set date and also has a variety of deadlines related to the measure. With an eye on avoiding deadlines coinciding with holiday breaks, board member Nam Jack asked for details for each scenario.
In other business, Cherniss reported that assembly of the Titan Student Center at San Marino High School was well underway and is expected to be completed shortly, with some sort of ribbon cutting in September or October. The center will be the main hub of the Student Wellness Initiative, a mental health awareness program that will target students in every grade level.
The board approved the initiative this summer, and local organizations have stepped up with donations to make the project happen. SMHS Principal Issaic Gates and former district principal Liz Hollingsworth led the charge in developing the program.
“We have a lot of community partners who have reached out, and Liz Hollingsworth has been doing a great job in reaching out to the community,” Cherniss said.

Leave a Reply