Early election results show Measure S, a smaller parcel tax measure for the Portola Valley School District, is receiving the number of votes needed to pass.
By the close of election night on Tuesday, May 4, 75.3% of voters have said yes to the measure, which requires a two-thirds, or 67% voter majority, county election officials reported. Measure S was the only item on San Mateo County's all-mail ballot May 4 special election. The district is asking for less money this time around: $471 per parcel annually versus the current rate of $581. It would raise $997,000 annually for the district. It has an eight-year term and would expire in 2029.
Semi-official election results at 8:10 p.m. on election night show Measure S with 1,743 votes of support and 573 no votes (24.7%). Just two of these votes were turned in at Voter Centers; the rest were mailed to the Elections Office.
District officials are asking taxpayers for less because the district has made $1.3 million in cuts over the last three years, said district Chief Business Officer Connie Ngo. The district saved money by eliminating an assistant principal position at Corte Madera School; eliminating a district office classified staff position; freezing the hiring of the director of learning and innovation; eliminating 30 telephone lines; and reducing its workforce by seven teachers and classified staff positions through attrition, Ngo said.
Voters failed to renew the soon-to-expire tax, Measure O, last March.
Measure O expires in June and raises about $1.2 million annually for the district. It funds advanced math, science and technology, reading, writing, art and music programs; reduced class sizes; and retention of teachers for the district's two schools, Ormondale and Corte Madera, according to the district website. The tax also covers 17% of district teachers' salaries, according to the ballot measure.
Measure O passed in 2013 with 69% of the vote. It consolidated two expiring measures: Measure C (with an annual tax of $290 per parcel) and Measure D ($168 per parcel), and increased the rate by $123 per parcel to $581, Ngo said.
All voters who live within the school district boundaries, which go beyond those of the town of Portola Valley, can vote on the bond measure. The district includes Woodside residents who live in the Skylonda and Skywood Acres neighborhoods and off Philips and Family Farm roads, and part of Mountain Home Road.
The next results will be released on Friday, May 7, at 4:30 p.m., according to the San Mateo County Elections Office. The Election Office plans to certify the results on June 3.