Several months ago, when the state was talking about cutbacks in school funding for the coming year, the Cardiff School District indicated it might attempt to put to a vote the notion of a parcel tax of around $50 to $60 per parcel. Almost overnight, front-yard signs appeared all over the town, proclaiming “No New Cardiff School Tax.”
The campaign to stop discussion of the tax before it reached the ballot phase was led by the Cardiff Taxpayers Association. This group of community activists has, in recent years, helped to defeat ballot measures for a beach-sand tax and for allowing Encinitas' Ecke Poinsettia growers to turn their last remaining farm land into housing.
According to association member Bob Bonde, “[The school district is] putting the cart before the horse,” noting that local governments don’t know how much the state will withhold in the coming years. He said that most of the older lots in Cardiff’s ocean-view west side are actually two legal parcels, originally purchased as one lot; those homeowners would be taxed twice.
Bonde pointed out that for another 23 years, residents will be paying for a voter-approved school bond that built the new Ada Harris Elementary School and refurbished the 50-year-old Cardiff Elementary campus.
At the July’s school board meeting, residents opposed to the tax attended. At the board’s Wednesday, August 26, meeting, there was little discussion of the proposed tax.
“It’s a non-starter at this point,” said school superintendent Tom Pellegrino. The two-school district expects a revenue reduction of one million dollars during the next two years.
The author formerly served as president of the Cardiff Town Council