Measure R

Michael Bastaki, Highlander Editor

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Measure R will provide the Belmont-Redwood Shores school district with more money.

With the conclusion of the election on Nov. 5, Measure R passed with a 71.4 percent vote.

However, this percentage doesn’t reflect our society’s agreement over this measure, as Measure R has been embroiled in controversy ever since it was proposed.

In order to understand what all this disagreement is about, it’s important to know what Measure R is.

Measure R was primarily proposed because California’s state government has cut $8.5 million from the public schools over the past five years.

Measure R is a parcel tax, meaning that it costs a standard rate of $174 per household per year.

Furthermore, this tax is extended to all the residents within the school district regardless of whether or not they have children.

Considering that 30,000 people live in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District, this measure will raise $5.2 million per year.

This money will be used to protect public schools’ math, science, writing, music, and art departments.

Lastly, Measure R will expire in 10 years and cannot be renewed without voter approval.

Supporters of Measure R argued that this measure protects the schools since the state government isn’t allowed to touch this money. All the money collected by this parcel tax will go directly to the district’s public schools.

Junior Alan Yan noted, “The district will lose money because the state is going to cut our budget in order to help failing schools. This forces the local government to fill in the gap in funding which is what Measure R accomplishes.”

Another benefit of this measure is that the funds cannot be used to pay for administrators, which is quite significant because the average administrator in California makes over $100,000 per year.

Furthermore, this measure has the potential to help the economy by raising house prices.

There is a very simple science behind this belief: the more the public schools improve, the more desirable the Belmont-Redwood Shores area is to live in, and therefore the higher the house prices climb.

This increase in house prices will cause the property tax on houses in that area to rise, which in turn gives the local city government more money to improve the area’s resources.

However, critics of Measure R painted a much different picture.

The opponents of this measure argued that Measure R is unnecessary, unfair, and that the district should look after their money better.

The people against Measure R noted that Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which raised the sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent, was put in place to prevent cuts to education, rendering Measure R unnecessary.

They also described the unfairness of Measure R, as it taxes the same amount regardless of house size, meaning that an individual in a 4,000 square foot home gets taxed the same amount as an individual living in a 600 square foot condominium.

Furthermore, these opponents asked a reasonable question: why does the district need more money when the rapid increase in property tax has been giving the district more money each year to fund the schools?

Therefore, the opposition argued that the only reason the district needs more money, in this case in the form of Measure R, is because the district members are irresponsible with their money.

Although both sides made compelling arguments, the people of this district voted to pass Measure R.

Only the next 10 years will tell if they made the right decision.


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