SOQUEL -- Soquel Union Elementary School leaders started serious talks about putting a parcel tax on the June 2013 ballot.
District officials said the money would be used to support libraries, media centers, infrastructure, technology and teacher retention.
It would be the first parcel tax for the five-school district with about 1,900 students.
Soquel Union won a $15 million bond measure in March 2002, known as Measure A, to fix and improve school sites with new infrastructure.
Superintendent Henry Castaniada told trustees at a board meeting Wednesday that a parcel tax is the best way to stabilize the district's finances, which have dwindled in recent years due to state budget reductions.
"I see this as an opportunity," Castaniada said. "We don't have control of our finances because of Sacramento. We have to look at being creative."
The district's $14 million annual budget has been sliced by $1.37 million since 2008, which was realized by imposing three furlough days for staff, increasing class sizes in the elementary schools and cutting positions such as the middle school counselor.
Grants and outside funding, such as parent donations, don't go far enough to support long-term programs and goals, forcing the need for the district to seek a parcel tax, Castaniada said.
The discussion on Wednesday suggested an annual $900,000 parcel tax that would last eight years, though no decision will be made for several months.
Trustees touched on the need to hire a consultant and pollster to conduct a phone survey and gauge how the Soquel-Capitola community would view an increase in property taxes.
A parcel tax requires two-thirds voter support to pass.
The district's business chief, Harley Robertson, presented a chart with details of parcel taxes in place at neighboring districts -- Santa Cruz City Schools, Live Oak School District and Scotts Valley Unified School District.
All of the districts received strong support for their parcel taxes, ranging in the upper 70 percent.
Castaniada said the board will discuss the parcel tax proposal for several months, and vote in January or February on whether to put up for a public vote.
In addition to the parcel tax talks, the board welcomed new Trustee Phil Rodriguez, who was appointed in September to replace Cynthia Torres-Ricca, who moved to Hollister and resigned in August.
Rodriguez previously served on the Soquel board around 2000.
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