On the El Cerrito City Council agenda Tuesday night are proposed endorsements of two property-tax measures on the November 6 ballot to raise money for West Contra Costa schools.
One is Measure E, a $380-million bond program, to replace or upgrade school facilities for the West Contra Costa Costa Unified School District. It would add an estimated $48 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. The bonds are expected to be 25-year term.
Measure E needs approval of 55 percent of the voters to pass. The tax would be added to existing taxes on West County property tax bills from four previous school facility bond measures, totaling $1.23 billion, passed by voters since 2000.
The other measure up proposed for council endorsement is Measure G, an extension of the current parcel tax that funds academic programs in schools. It requires a two-thirds yes vote to pass.
The current parcel tax is 7.2 cents per surface square foot of building area and expires June 30, 2014. Measure G would also be 7.2 cents per square foot and last five years, beginning July 1, 2013.
The West County school board voted in July to place both measures on the ballot. The board's action followed the , which would have not only extended the parcel tax but increased it to 10.2 cents per square foot. It too needed two-thirds approval and received 65.52 percent.
School board members said preserving the parcel tax would protect the current smaller class sizes for the youngest students as well as core academic classes in reading, writing and science. It would also support the libraries, science labs, school safety, classroom computers, and programs to prepare students for college and the workforce.
The bond measure, Measure E, is needed especially for physically run-down schools that have not benefitted from district's extensive rebuilding programs over the past decade, board members said. At the July meeting, board member Antonio Medrano said those in need of rebuilding or substantial rehabilitation include Crespi Middle School in El Sobrante, Lake Elementary in San Pablo, Collins Elementary and Shannon Elementary in Pinole, and Grant Elementary and Olinda Elementary in Olinda.
In El Cerrito, Measure E funds would be used also at Madera Elementary and for the playfields at Portola Middle School, according to the school district.
City Council endorsements of the two measures was proposed by Councilwoman Janet Abelson. Copies of the proposed endorsement resolutions are attached to this article.
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