PLEASANTON -- As the Pleasanton school district grappled Wednesday with its second parcel tax defeat in two years, board members were anticipating a revised state budget that could result in further cuts.
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters issued updated results Wednesday for Tuesday's special mail-only election for Measure E. Only 65.31 percent of those casting ballots voted for the $98-per-parcel tax, shy of the required two-thirds majority.
"It was very disappointing," said Valerie Arkin, the district's board president. "We were very close, and now we have a lot of difficult decisions ahead."
She said the revised state budget will be out later this month, and she expects further cuts to the $3.5 million the district has already made to its $106 million budget for the 2011-12 school year.
Measure E received 13,800 yes votes, short by 883 votes to reach the 66.7 percent threshold. There were 7,330 ballots cast against the measure. If it had passed, it would have generated $2.1 million per year for four years that would have funded math, science and reading skills instruction, attracted and retained qualified teachers, funded libraries and minimized class size increases.
Campaign organizers for Yes on Measure E were reviewing data and said that, as of Monday, there were 2,500 residents who said they supported the tax but had failed to cast their ballots.
"Measure E was not the solution, but it was something that we could have absolutely counted on," said Tanya Ludden, chair of the Yes on E campaign and mother of three children who graduated from Pleasanton schools.
"The $2.1 million would not have solved everything, but it would have helped until the economy went up," she said. "The impacts are going to happen next year and they will be felt."
The district voted in February to eliminate its class-size reduction program, and to reduce its reading program, reading specialist positions and summer school intervention. Five physical education specialist jobs for first through fifth grades were cut and one school day per week for those grades was shortened by 45 minutes. It also reduced the number of counselors, its regional occupation program, teacher training and adult education, and it eliminated four full-time classified positions and a health services liaison position.
"It is regrettable, but we will get through this and we will rebuild (the district)," said Joan Laursen, who helped lead the previous parcel tax push before being elected to the board.
The district sought a $299-per-parcel tax in June 2009, but it garnered only 61.7 percent of the vote.
Robert Jordan covers Dublin and Pleasanton. Contact him at 925-847-2184.