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School Board Considers Supporting Potential Property Tax Act

The Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) Board of Trustees covered a lot of ground on Thursday, Jan. 30 — from audits, to raises, to property taxes, they covered it all at their meeting.

 

California Schools and Local Community Funding Act

Santa Clara County Assessor Lawrence Stone came to the meeting to present on the California Schools and Local Community Funding Act, which would be a constitutional initiative if it got placed on the November 2020 ballot and got approved by voters. Commonly referred to as the Split Measure Roll, the presentation on the Act was brought about because the Board is considering a resolution in support of the Schools and Communities First Funding Act.

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The resolution was placed on the agenda at the request of United Teachers of Santa Clara and the Classified School Employees Association. However, many were disappointed that Stone was presenting before the unions who requested the item could present. According to the meeting’s agenda, “the Act would change the method and frequency of property tax assessment on commercial property in California, with the new revenue directed toward school districts and other local governments.”

Stone encouraged the Board to not support the Act for a slew of reasons that would affect his office, including increased workload, lack of resources and time restraints. He also called the Act’s language ambiguous and said it would be unpredictable. He said, if passed, the act would be impossible to implement and would cause chaos.

“This is a bad initiative for a well-intended purpose,” said Stone.

However, 16 speakers vehemently disagreed with Stone and urged the Board to support the Act.

“As a teacher, I face a lot of these same problems in my work,” said community member Rinada Sanchez. “It’s hard, I’d even impossible, but I make the impossible happen every day…  If I can make it work in my classroom, I have no doubt that the County Assessor’s Office can make it work too.”

Board Member Jim Canova said thanked Stone for his presentation but said it made him think of the classic phrase, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” and said he supports the California Schools and Local Community Funding Act.

This was a planning item so it will come back to the Board as a discussion item and then to another meeting for Board action. Board President Dr. Michele Ryan explained that the Unions will have a chance to present on the topic as well.

 

Substitutes Get Small Raise, More to Come?

The Board approved the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 Certificated Substitute Salary Schedules, giving substitutes a raise of two $5 increments. Board Clerk Mark Richardson wanted to emphasize that this agenda item was an interim increase to mirror local increases. The topic is coming back to the March 12 meeting for closer inspection at the request of Board Member Vickie Fairchild.

The Board agreed that they have a substitute shortage issue and that they need to be competitive with near-by Districts to help with disruptions.

They also approved the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 Family Child Education Unrepresented Hourly Pay Scale and they approved the 2019-2020 Classified Unrepresented Hourly Employee Salary Schedule.

 

Independent Auditors Report

A representative from Crowe LLP presented SCUSD’s 2018-19 Audit Report and Financial Statements. The presenter said they were happy with the District’s cooperation and called the audit “clean.”

You can view the full audit on the Board’s agenda — page 85 has a results summary. It gives SCUSD a clean bill of health in all three areas.

Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp was absent.

On Thursday, Feb. 13, the SCUSD Board has a work study session at 5 p.m. and a regular Board meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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