39 Drumm Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
In 1976, the California Supreme Court ruled in Serrano v. Priest that there should be equal funding of schools across the state regardless of the wealth of local communities.
A parcel tax measure on my local ballot is violating the spirit and letter of this ruling.
The Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) is trying to double an existing parcel tax to get an additional source of funding that will go directly to its schools, and nobody else’s. This additional funding isn’t to correct a deficiency (e.g., earthquake retrofitting, etc.); it is specifically to make the CUSD schools better than other schools in California.
The wording in the official statements from the CEA teacher’s union is explicit. Phyllis Vogel, vice-president of the school board and co-chair of the Measure C campaign said in their official literature (at http://www.ceaweb.org/) that “those without children in the district want their property values to stay high” and therefore should support Measure C. Clearly if the schools are so much better funded that it significantly affects property values, there’s a gross inequity. Measure C isn’t to make things fair for CUSD, it’s to make them unfair, compared to neighboring districts.
The official “Yes on C” website (http://www.yes4cupertinoschools.org/faq) reiterates Measure C isn’t to restore equality, but to make its schools significantly better than others.
From their FAQ
Q. I don’t have children in school, how does Measure C benefit me?
A. We know our elementary and middle schools are among the best in California, making our community a desirable place to live. This helps keep our property values high and our neighborhoods strong.
I would like the ACLU to get involved and stop this violation of the law established in Serrano v. Priest. Any money collected for this parcel tax should be distributed to all schools in the state and not kept within the Cupertino Union School District.
It’s clear from the campaign literature that Cupertino Schools are already the “best in California” and that the reason to vote for this isn’t to maintain educational standards, but to create differences between Cupertino and neighboring communities by funding its schools better than other schools.
As someone who supports an equal, quality public education for all, I find this abhorrent. I hope the ACLU can find this illegal as well.
(See also our previous blog post.)