Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

State Supreme Court decision in Alameda school parcel tax case could impact Davis district

By
From page A1 | June 14, 2013 |

A decision this week by the California Supreme Court regarding a parcel tax in the Alameda Unified School District could have big implications for the Davis school district as well.

In a unanimous decision, the court let stand a lower court ruling that struck down several aspects of the district’s Measure H, a school parcel tax approved by voters there in 2008.

Measure H was challenged by a local businessman, and several others, who objected to the different rates charged homeowners and commercial property owners. The lawsuits — Borikas et al v. Alameda Unified School District — contended that state law requires “uniformity” in a parcel tax, i.e., a tax that will “apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the district.”

In Davis, local voters approved the school parcel tax Measure E last Nov. 6. It also charges different rates — $204 per year for single-family homes and $20 per unit per year for apartments, duplexes and other multi-unit dwellings.

Measure E was challenged in federal court and in Yolo Superior Court by several local tax activists. The federal lawsuit was consolidated into the Yolo Superior Court challenge in April, with the next hearing there set for July 29.

Plaintiff Jose Granda, a vocal opponent of several recent school parcel tax measures, was pleased with the decision, and predicted that the local court will “determine (that) Measure E is also invalid, as Measure E has the identical legal defects as did the (Alameda Unified) parcel tax.”

“I told the school board that Measure E was illegal,” Granda said. “Instead of structuring a tax that was not subject to legal attack, they needlessly took a significant risk.”

At a June 2012 school board meeting at which Measure E’s ballot language was drafted, attorney Peter Sturges, who advises the Davis school board on parcel tax matters, told the trustees that the dual-rate tax outlined in Measure E would be permissible under state law.

On March 6, the California Court of Appeal’s First Appellate District struck down portions of Alameda’s Measure H,  saying “(the) imposition of a higher tax on commercial or industrial property … exceeds the (Alameda) district’s taxing authority,” but adding “the language in Measure H imposing a different and higher tax rate on non-residential property… is easily excised, and its absence leaves a coherent, functioning tax measure.”

The appellate court decision also validated parcel tax exemptions for senior citizens and disabled people who are homeowners.

Alameda Unified quickly took the case to the California Supreme Court, seeking to have the decision reviewed. Now that the high court has declined to do so, Borikas will now return to the trial court, which will consider possible remedies. These potentially include refunds of some tax payments collected between 2008 and 2011, when the measure expired.

“We are disappointed the California Supreme Court declined to review this case,” said Kirsten Vital, superintendent of Alameda Unified, who added that there could be “a significant blow to our budget with many negative consequences for students, teachers and staff here in Alameda, as well as for other districts and local agencies across the state.

“We are also continuing to work with our elected representatives in the Legislature to clarify the legal standards applicable to parcel taxes.”

(In January, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, introduced AB 59, a bill that would permit school districts to “assess taxes in accordance with rational classifications among taxpayers or types of property within the school district.” But Bonta’s bill hasn’t gotten past the committee level.)

Winfred Roberson, superintendent of the Davis school district, said the Supreme Court’s decision “impacts the pending legal challenge to Measure E. However, we are also aware that a possible legislative solution may bring a favorable resolution to this matter.

“Meanwhile, the Davis school district will do all within its power to defend the overwhelming decision of the Davis community to support their local schools through Measure E.”

Davis school board president Sheila Allen said “the school board and the Davis school district’s voters acted with their best intentions and current understanding of state law to support their local public schools” when approving Measure E.

“We remain committed to assuring that the will of the voters is implemented according to current law and court decisions,” Allen said.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

    By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

    Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Unitarians will host summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Where your gas money goes

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    STEAC needs donations of personal care items

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    Trio disagrees on best option

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Commenting system to change

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

     
    Support these local restaurants

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Let’s get the bench repaired

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Predicting climate changes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Clinton’s book is worth a read

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

    Thanks for emergency help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Moss powers A’s past Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    ‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Musicians perform at Sunday service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Lita Bowen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Sherman Home

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Vaughan Brookshaw

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Ciana Wallace

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Jo Vallejo

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Carol Coder

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Diane Lardelli

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Jason Sull

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Leslie Blevins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    David Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Open House Map

    By jboydston | From Page: RER19

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24