HAYWARD -- Trustees on Wednesday voted to put a parcel tax on the June ballot, which will ask voters to levy an annual $58 fee on property owners in order to preserve school programs.
The vote was 4-to-1, with board member Luis Reynoso dissenting.
Without cuts, Hayward Unified is facing an ongoing $7.4 million deficit and the tax -- which would be in place for five years -- would generate $2 million annually.
Board President Jesus Armas has said the tax is necessary because of $26 million in state-level losses over the past three years that have resulted in "Draconian" cuts.
While the tax enjoyed support from a host of public speakers that included parents, teachers and union heads, Reynoso reiterated what he has said before -- that the district "squanders" that much money each year and the tax measure was put together "fast and sloppy."
Holding an election will be costly, he said, with a minimum cost of nearly $200,000.
"I want to make sure everybody understands what we are getting into," Reynoso said.
Superintendent Donald Evans said there is $100,000 budgeted for the election. Placing items on the ballot cost $54,000 and $70,000 in the last two elections, he said.
Election costs went up this year, in part because voter pamphlets and polling materials are being printed in more languages. Election money cannot be recouped if the tax does not pass.
According to the proposed ballot language, funds
Trustee Lisa Brunner previously said there needs to be an audit of programs to find out what is and isn't working so money can be allotted effectively. Evans said Wednesday that they have put out a request for bids for such an analysis and expect results in about six months.
The funds collected would "absolutely not" be subject to any future money grabs at the state level, Evans said.
Results of an October survey found enough public support to pass a parcel tax, although only if restricted to $58 per parcel.
The parcel tax would include provisions for an exemption for seniors, a citizens' oversight committee and a guarantee that all the money be used in classrooms.