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San Gabriel Valley Digest

San Marino : School Tax an Issue Again

January 16, 1986

The San Marino school board decided this week to try again in the June 3 primary election to get voters to tax themselves to raise money for schools.

Members unanimously approved a ballot measure almost identical to one that failed in November when it fell short of the required two-thirds voter approval. The Board of Education announced shortly after the election that it would try again this year to pass the measure, in the belief that an intense campaign will attract more voters.

The measure calls for a special tax of up to $145 annually for each parcel of property in the district for four years. The resulting $700,000 a year would offset a deficit that school officials say will otherwise require cuts in some programs. District leaders say that San Marino schools suffer financially because the district does not receive as much in state funding as other districts that have more low-income and minority students.

Board President Mary Snaer said that San Marino will not qualify for additional funds promised by Gov. George Deukmejian for transportation and new facilities. She said the district's share of state lottery funds is unknown and cannot be budgeted.

When proposed last year, the tax was supported by three new members who were elected to the school board in November and by the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce and major civic organizations.

Opponents who fought last year's ballot measure, led by Ben Austin and Kevin Forbes, said they will increase their efforts in fighting the June measure.

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