Yes On Measure O

By Larena Tannert

Westmont is much more than a school, it’s a community. A welcoming place filled with engaged students and a compassionate faculty, but Westmont depends on the community around it in order for the students to flourish. In past years, previous measures, K and L, have attempted to increase educational taxes, to put the schools in our district on par with other districts surrounding us. In 2020, Measure K was proposed to increase the tax to $298 per parcel annually for the next eight years. Measure K would have brought in around $16,600,000 per year.It was defeated, however, leaving the CUHSD school district at the current educational tax of $85 per parcel. In addition, Measure L was proposed in 2020, to renew the existing $85 per parcel tax, which would have aided CUHSD schools in ensuring students received engaging distance learning and a safe return to school. Measure L was defeated, requiring a ⅔ majority vote, or around 67%, but fell short with 62% of the community voting yes. 

Here is a comparison of CUHSD’s educational parcel tax and the tax of other districts around us:

Campbell Union High School District: $85 per parcel

Los Gatos Union School District: $335 per parcel (Measure B was approved in 2021 with 75% of voters saying yes/ lasts for 8 years)

Cupertino Union School District: $250 per parcel (Measure A, an attempt to increase the current parcel tax to $398 annually, was defeated in 2021, keeping the tax at $250)

San Jose Unified School District: $72 per parcel (Measure Y, approved in 2016 and lasting for 8 years)

Palo Alto Unified School District: $836 per parcel (Measure O, approved in 2021, renewed the current tax for an additional 8 years)

A majority of Westmonts funds come from this parcel tax, and Measure O is not looking to increase the tax, rather just extend it. Measure O requires ⅔ of voters to check that yes box on the ballot, which would allow for CUHSD schools to maintain many of its current programs and courses, such as arts and athletics, as well as attract new faculty members. One of the largest struggles teenagers face is mental health, with teen suicide rates at an all time high. Protecting student’s mental health should be a top priority for schools, but providing safe spaces and proper counseling services can only work with the support of the community, and the correct funding. Measure O would allow Westmont to continue running their student wellness center, and possibly even expand their mental health services to further benefit the students. 

If Measure O does not pass Westmont could lose its funding for sports, theater, and arts programs. Westmont would have to increase class sizes, diminishing a students ability to learn and would have to reduce the amount of positions offered, including five College and Career Specialists, about sixteen different teachers, and one Coordinator of Career Readiness – all of which are funded by the current parcel tax. On November 8th be sure to check off the yes box on your ballot for Measure O to ensure that students like me are able to receive the best education possible!