Re: [wccusdtalk] Parcel Tax Language
In my opinion there was a reason why the Attorneys for the district and
whoever else was in the room crafting the words for the Parcel Tax did not
expand on what the definitions of the words were in the Parcel Tax language.
If you have or have access to the entire package handed out at the Board
meeting you will notice on Page 6 under the heading EXHIBIT B, FULL BALLOT
TEXT, that there are 5 bulleted items restating the full ballot text.
However, it is not exactly the words used in the ballot text. That is
because by law you are only allowed so many words for the Ballot Text and
the expanded version that is in the bullets would not have met the legal
limit of words. The District had a chance to clarify what they meant, by
each statement, in the Ballot language and only expanded to say,
"Maintaining reduced class sizes for kindergarten through third grade;
Purchasing textbooks and teaching materials; Attracting and retaining
qualified teachers, aides and counselors; Enhancing core subjects including
reading, writing, mathematics and science, and; Improving custodial service
to keep bathrooms and other facilities clean and in good condition.
The District only expanded their definition on the first and last point in
the bond language in the bulleted items. They did add suffixes "ing" and
expanded, math to mathematics, but the definition of those topics did not
change. However, look carefully at the class reduction, it only pertains to
the "kindergarten through third grade," not the ninth grade as we currently
have in this district. Also, "aides and counselors," come after "qualified
teachers," as an afterthought, in this way the district can attract teachers
and forget about counselors and still be doing what this bond promised and
pick up the votes of the people that want to retain counselors. However if
by the use of commas and the way "aides and counselors" are separated from
the teachers are they to be retained as well. Remember we are in the world
of, what is the definition of "is" and every comma could change the "legal"
meaning of "retain". The way this wording was crafted makes me wonder if the
retention of aides and counselors is as high a priority to this district.
But more importantly look at the last point about custodial services. The
expanded version includes the possibility of using this tax for construction
in any other facilities and bathrooms. The words, "to keep bathrooms and
other facilities clean and in good condition" is not included in the text of
the ballot measure but is included in the expanded version and is open to
broad interpretation and it is not by mistake it was put in there. If a
bathroom or a classroom at a school has dry rot and is deemed to be in poor
condition this money may by that definition in my opinion be used to rebuild
the facility in poor condition and will be justified with those three words.
I will go one further, if a school is deemed not in good condition and
cannot be kept clean by "improved custodial service" because of its poor
condition this money could be used to help build an entire school, by
definition in this expanded language. This could hypothetically turn into a
building bond measure. This is a stretch but there certainly is nothing in
the expanded language to stop that. I also believe the first line of the
ballot language leaves open the use of these funds for portable purchases
and leasing and hiring and paying of teachers just for the exclusive use of
class size reduction because the only way class size reduction works is more
housing for students and more teachers for the expanded small classes.
The bullets on this page were used to further explain the intent behind the
ballot language and instead of defining what was meant by the language the
expansion was used in my opinion to expand how the money can be spent
without having the general voter to see the language on the ballot.
>From: David Whitenack <davidwhitnack@...>_________________________________________________________________
>To: "George A. Harris III" <gah_iii@...>, charley@...
>CC: email@example.com, cramsey@...,
>glen@..., kfenton@..., Playeredu@..., Gloria Johnston
>Subject: [wccusdtalk] Parcel Tax Language
>Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 00:40:47 -0800
>George, Charley, and others:
>Thank you for your dedicated efforts on the parcel tax. Please
>provide additional details and explanation related to the language
>below that I lifted from the text that was distributed. Are
>"attracting" and "retaining" limited to salaries, or might other
>expenses (e.g., recruiting) be included? Similarly, what are the
>parameters defining "enhancing?"
>Thank you for your attention to these questions.
> > * Attracting and retaining qualified teachers, aides and counselors,
> > * Enhancing core subjects including reading, writing, mathematics and
> > science, and
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