EDITORIAL: Preserve Orinda’s Schools

EDITORIAL: Preserve Orinda’s Schools

Orinda’s schools are under attack.  Their educational quality must be preserved.

On the November 2018 ballot, there will be two measures to raise property taxes in support of the Orinda Union School District (OUSD).

The Icon enthusiastically supports both measures.  The measures did not, at press time, have official ballot titles.

One measure, the Health and Safety measure, would finance school facilities.  This measure would authorize the sale of up to $55 million in bonds.  The tax rate for this measure would be about $300 on a property assessed at $1 million.

The second measure, the Academic Excellence measure, would maintain the high quality of OUSD’s academic programs.  This measure would authorize up to $50 million in bonds. The tax rate for this measure would also be about $300 on a property assessed at $1 million.

To pass, each measure needs 55 percent (or more) of the vote.  Neither measure provides a discount or tax exemption for senior citizens.  Each measure would last for about 25 to 30 years.  According to OUSD, the annual tax for each measure could decrease over time.

According to the 2016-2017 Annual Report of the Educational Foundation of Orinda, per-pupil funding of OUSD’s schools is $6,857.  The report states that the California per-pupil average is $10,228, and the U.S. average is $12,578.  Clearly, OUSD is being short-changed.

The State of California has attempted — and is still attempting — to take control of Orinda’s land.  If the state can control Orinda’s land, it also has the power to control the management of Orinda’s schools.  The state should stay out of running Orinda’s schools, one of the city’s most precious assets.  If the state takes over Orinda’s schools and the quality of the schools declines in value, how much would an Orindan’s home be worth?

Please vote “yes” on the measures to support Orinda’s schools.

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