Novato residents may have heard by now that Measure A is up for renewal soon. What is Measure A? It's a parcel tax that's been in place since 1992 that helps fund Novato's fantastic public schools. Renewing Measure A will not raise taxes—it just renews a source of existing school funding (and the State of California can't touch a penny of it). And as most Novato parents know, our local schools need all the funds they can get.
Measure A will help maintain comptetitive science, engineering, and math programs; help attract and retain high-quality teachers and maintain managable class sizes; and protect important music, arts, library, and athletic programs. None of the funds generated by Measure A can be taken by the state or used for administrator salaries.
Marin Mommies presents a guest article by financial planner Tanya Steinhofer, who explores the financial aspects of sending your children to private school.
Private schools are a wonderful part of our education system. Families choose to send their children to private schools for many reasons: lack of good public schools in their area, adherence to a particular educational or religious philosophy, better support for special needs children, or a desire to replicate their educational background, as well as a belief that a particular private school might provide their child a superior educational experience.
The decision to send a child to private elementary and high school is a big decision on many fronts, but particularly on the financial front. While some families can easily afford this incremental cost without jeopardizing other goals, many families cannot and embark on the journey without fully considering all the costs associated with private school, nor its impact on their ability to achieve other important goals, such as retirement, paying for college or buying a house. As a financial planner helping families with young children, I decided to research this topic with a focus on the financial aspects and share my findings so families can fully consider the impacts of this decision.
The 7th annual Rock'n Blues by the Lake returns to support Novato's public schools this fall at Stafford Lake Park. This popular annual event takes place Saturday, September 26, from 10 am to 8 pm and features an all-star lineup on four stages that includes the B-52s (pictured) and American Idol's Blake Lewis, as well local favorite Tim Cain, the Beatles tribute band Rubber Souldiers, young musicians from Novato and San Marin High Schools, and more. It's a popular event for all ages, and proceeds go to support the arts and music in Novato's schools (which sorely need the money).
Other attractions include a carnival, jumpies, interactive Guitar Hero and X-Box games, food, beverages, a silent auction and raffle, and a magic show for children.
Residents of Novato will have two opportunities to help the perennially cash-strapped Novato Unified School District this week. For reasons not totally clear, Novato schools receive considerably less funding per student than other districts in the county; NUSD gets $8,346 per student while other Marin school districts get anywhere from $9,000 to $12,000. For more information, here's a link to the NUSD's resolution and abbreviated text of Measure A (PDF).
Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2, Novato voters will vote on Measure A, which increases the annual parcel tax by $96 a year. Novato's parcel tax, at $155, is one of the lowest in the US, and doesn't automatically increase on a yearly basis like those in the Dixie, Lagunitas, Ross, Reed, and other school districts. When you break it down, that's just a little over a quarter per day, probably something you'd just end up leaving in the tip jar at your favorite coffee place. Let's help keep Novato a desirable place for families to live and help the schools keep (in spite of their low funding) their excellent overall reputation!