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School Tax Bid to Go on Ballot Again : La Canada Flintridge: After seeing it fail by just 20 votes, the board decides to include the measure in the Nov. 5 elections.


La Canada Flintridge school officials will try again next fall to pass a $250-per-parcel school tax, defeated by just 20 votes in the June 4 election--the closest race of any in the county, officials said.

The board of directors of the La Canada Unified School District on Tuesday voted to put the measure on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. Supporters hope that the momentum built up in the community will carry through to win the required two-thirds majority.

"The election was very close," said Meredith Reynolds, chairwoman of the Committee for Quality Education, which led the campaign. "The people really cared about this issue and they still care about it, so we are going to go to work again."

The tax would raise $1.25 million a year for local schools for four years. But even if the measure passes in November, it will be too late to appear on property tax bills until next year and will not restore cuts the district already has ordered for the fall, Assistant Supt. Andrew Meyer said.

Budget curtailments include increased class sizes and cuts in science, language, arts, honors and athletic programs.

Jeanne Broberg, past president of the La Canada Parent-Teacher Council who has agreed to lead the new election endeavor, said the campaign will focus on "restoring quality education rather than maintaining quality education."

She said proponents decided to launch a new campaign in the fall, rather than wait until next year, because, "We felt the sooner, the better." She said a November vote will give district officials more time to plan budgeting for the 1992-93 school year.

A similar parcel tax measure in La Canada Flintridge five years ago failed with 56% of the votes.

Only 40 school tax measures out of more than 100 proposed throughout the state have been successful since Proposition 13 put a cap on school taxes in 1978.

Official certified results by the county registrar of voters were 3,596 votes in support, or 66.31%, and 1,827 votes opposed, or 33.68%. Passage required 66.67%. Nearly 46% of the 11,817 eligible voters in the school district turned out for the special election.

Results immediately following the election showed that the measure had lost by 62 votes. The final results released last week after late absentee ballots and provisional votes were hand-counted dashed all doubt that the measure had been defeated.

Reynolds said that despite the narrow defeat, proponents are encouraged by the demonstrated support for the schools.

"The people who worked before are very enthusiastic and more people are asking to work," Reynolds said. "They are very committed to our schools."

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