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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Passage of expanded parcel tax would provide $2.5 million annually for district

Proposed measure of the parcel tax renewal from $49 per parcel to $129 per parcel providing $2,520,000 annually for the next nine years.

In efforts to maintain the competitiveness of LGSUHSD schools, the 5-member governing board has approved putting a parcel tax measure on the ballot this spring.

If passed by two thirds of voters, it would raise the current parcel tax rate from $49 to $128. Funds from the parcel tax will be directed to hiring and retaining talented educators and funding programs at both Los Gatos and Saratoga High.

In October, the board presented the results of a poll implemented to assess interest and feasibility in raising the parcel tax from $49 to either $99 or $249. However, an updated survey, presented at a board meeting on Jan. 30, led the board to settle on a figure of $128 — a base rate of $49 plus an additional $79 per parcel. 

The proposition is a mail-in ballot and will be due May 7. The text of the proposition will read as follows:

To attract/retain highly qualified teachers in local high schools,

maintain strong core academic programs including innovative science,

technology, engineering, and math; continue advanced placement

courses that prepare students for top colleges/careers, shall Los

Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District’s measure be adopted,

renewing its expiring education parcel tax at the current $49 plus $79

per parcel, providing $2,520,000 annually for nine years, with annual

adjustments, citizen oversight, senior exemptions, no funds for

administrators, and every dollar benefiting local high schools?

District leaders hope the proposition will pass after seeing the results of a survey conducted from Jan. 2-7, which measured a 72% approval rating from residents for the new parcel tax. If it doesn’t pass, the district will be without nearly $1 million in annual revenue that it has relied on for more than a decade.

Formal notice of the election to approve [jump] the new tax rate was publicized on Feb. 7 as per the request of the county superintendents. The costs of levying this election will lie solely on the district to reimburse Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County for the services provided in presenting the bill to the public. That cost is estimated to land in the ballpark of $800,000 to $1 million.

If approved, the new $128 parcel tax would begin on July 1. The overall goal is to maintain the district’s status as having some of the top high schools in the state; the board believes increasing the parcel tax to better fund the two schools’ needs, like teacher salary and program funding, will bring the necessary boost to keep the two schools competitive when recruiting and trying to keep good teachers

Educator salaries at LGSUHSD have fallen far behind several other nearby districts in recent years— for instance, Mountain View Los Altos has an average salary of $152,524 as of the 2023-24 school year compared to LGSUHSD’s average salary of $117,963. As a result, several longtime teachers have left the district for higher-paying jobs in other districts, and the schools have had a harder time hiring top teaching talent. 

District leaders also point to the cost of parcel taxes in other districts such as Palo Alto, which stands at $836 per parcel, as evidence that the district’s request to increase the tax from $49 to $128 is reasonable. Now they hope at least two thirds of voters agree.

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