Press Release Re: Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District

Monday, December 10th, 2012 - Posted in District Communications

From the Office of the Superintendent:

Monday, December 10, 2012

 A decision by the Court of Appeals governing Alameda County in the case Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District, was issued on Friday (12/7/2012) afternoon. The Court’s decision requires the Board to consider a change to the Piedmont Unified School District’s (PUSD) proposed school support tax measure, scheduled to appear on the March 5, 2013 special election ballot.

Based on the Legislature’s authorizing language for school districts to levy special qualified taxes such as parcel taxes, the Court held that such taxes must be uniform for all parcels within the district other than two narrow exemptions in the statute.

Like many school parcel taxes around California, the Alameda Unified School District’s parcel tax distinguished between residential and commercial parcels, and between commercial parcels of different size. The Alameda District relied upon equal protection principles to argue that all parcels in the same rationally-based classification created by the measure were treated “uniformly.” The Court rejected this argument based on limiting language placed by the Legislature into the authorizing statute, and found that the parcel tax must be uniform among all parcels in the school district. Based on the Court’s decision, the parcel taxes of school districts that set rates based on property or parcel size, or distinguish between residential and commercial property, could be challenged.

The Court upheld the exemptions in the Alameda Unified School District’s parcel tax, finding that the District could limit those exemptions to a subset of seniors and persons with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). Upon advice of counsel, the District believes that its proposed SSI exemption meets this standard.

Superintendent Constance Hubbard has scheduled a special meeting of the Board of Education on:

Date:                     Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Location:              City Council Chambers

Time:                     7:00 p.m. (The meeting will also be televised by KCOM live)

PUSD’s legal counsel will review with the administration and Board of Education the implications and options available to the school district, given the Court’s decision.

The Board will be requested to amend the proposed resolution and to keep to the March 5, 2012 election time table. The following amendments are being considered:

  1. Change the current rate structure to a flat amount of $2406 per parcel regardless of parcel size, as indicated by the Court’s decision.
  2. Change the effective date to July 1, 2013 to implement the Court’s ruling as soon as possible. The new Measure term to remain at 8 years and replace Measure B effective July 1, 2013.

The ruling may be viewed at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A129295.PDF

Please contact the Superintendent’s Office at (510) 594-2614 or chubbard@piedmont.k12.ca.us with questions or for additional information.

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