Antioch School Board approves labor agreements, considers parcel tax

By John Crowder

Labor agreements negotiated by the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) with the Antioch Education Association (AEA) and California School Employees Association (CSEA) were both ratified at the May 28th meeting of the school board. The board also approved an adjustment to salary schedule and benefits for the Antioch Management Association (AMA).

According to documents submitted to the board by Keith Rogenski, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, the compensation for members of all three groups was increased by 5.21%. The total cost of the compensation increase for each group is listed as $2,442,195 with AEA, $1,029,960 with CSEA, and $384,245 with AMA. Together, the agreements raise the combined total compensation costs to AUSD by about $3.5 million.

Later in the meeting the Board revisited an item that had been discussed earlier this year during their January 22nd meeting. At that meeting, the idea of placing a parcel tax on the November ballot had been raised, and staff had been directed to gather further information. The board had not been willing, however, to authorize conducting a survey of Antioch citizens on the matter. Now the decision to move forward with a survey of voters appears to be gaining support.

During the discussion on the potential for placing a parcel tax on the ballot, all three board members who were present, President Joy Motts, Vice President Gary Hack, and Trustee Barbara Cowan, indicated they were in favor of moving forward with a survey.

However, before a motion was made supporting this step, both Superintendent Dr. Donald Gill and Hack voiced the opinion that it would be better to wait until the full board was present before taking any action on the matter. Board members Diane Gibson-Gray and Claire Smith were absent from the meeting.

Nonetheless, it was agreed that Associate Superintendent Tim Forrester could begin working to determine what questions the survey should ask in order to save time should the board decide to move forward with the survey in June.

According to Forrester, the purpose of the survey would be to determine whether or not there is public support for putting a parcel tax on the ballot in support of various programs that might be implemented or expanded by AUSD.

School boards have no authority to tax anyone,” Forrester said. “A survey is a way for the board to gauge if the public would support the board in placing a parcel tax on the ballot for needed programs for students. A survey would ask, at what level, would the public consider supporting the district’s needs.”

Some of the programs mentioned during the meeting that might be supported by a parcel tax included technology, counselors, art and music classes, and after-school programs. The cost of conducting such a survey was estimated to be between $25,000 and $30,000.

Not everyone at the meeting was happy with the idea of a parcel tax. Prior to the board discussion, one Antioch resident, Julie Young, addressed the matter during public comments. Young urged against placing a parcel tax on the ballot, citing a long list of other taxes either already in place, such as Mello Roos, Measure B and Measure C, or proposed, such as Measure E (which passed on June 3rd), the landlord business license tax and the increase in the minimum business license tax.

She made an analogy between a family that must budget for a large expense and government.

We are already taxed and if you want something else, you should budget and save to get it,” Young stated. “If you decide to put the parcel tax on the ballot for November, be prepared for a huge campaign against it.”

The next regularly scheduled Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 11th, at 7:00 p.m. The Board is expected to take up the question of whether or not to move forward with the survey to gauge the support for a parcel tax at that time. Meetings are held at the AUSD School District Office located at 510 G Street.

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12 Comments to “Antioch School Board approves labor agreements, considers parcel tax”

  1. Arne says:

    The AUSD Board can forget it !!!

  2. Marty Fernandez says:

    Absolutely not! They are beginning to sound like the West Contra Costa District. Cut from the top Mr. Gill.

    • eileen says:

      I agree. Cut from the top.

    • Mark says:

      The top got raises last year.
      Gill: $221,432, Anello:$167,443, Rogenski:$155,761.
      School Board Pres. Joy Mott’s reason for giving them raises was, “We feel like we have a great staff so we want to honor them.” See the article in Contra Costa Times,”top administrators get contract-extensions-raises.”
      Need more taxes to pay for those raises.

  3. Julie says:

    Tonight the board talked about the survey again. And they think the public would support a parcel tax, so they are going ahead with the survey at a cost of $30,000. 2 board members voted against it. But they were in the minority. The most frustrating comment of the night was Gary Hack telling us why he votes to pay more taxes. “Because that is how it keeps our society going.” (or something to that affect). So if you get a call that asks if you want music in our schools, they are really asking, will you be willing to pay a parcel tax? I hope you will say NO!!!

  4. Trish G says:

    Locally here in Livermore, we had Measure G to vote on last week, which is an additional parcel tax. The funds would be ear-marked for our local schools. Considering the track record of where ear-marked funds actually go to, I voted “no”. Unfortunately, most voters only choose to see the bright and cheery side, so the measure passed. California as a whole already has a ridiculous amount of taxes compared to other states. Soon, there’ll be a tax to breath the air in our community! When will it stop?!? I hope the Antioch school board wises up. The survey is useless and the parcel tax is excessive. Resident Julie Young said it perfectly, “If you want something else, you should budget and save for it!” What’s sound advice for the citizen, is sound advice for the community and governing bodies.

  5. Jamie Lockwood says:

    No more taxes!!!!! Enough is enough already! Manage your money more wisely, stop asking for more.

  6. bill says:

    Spend, tax and vote themselves raises.

    Must be nice.

  7. Mark says:

    This is the letter I wrote to the two over-paid school superintendents Gill and Anello and the school trustees Hack, Motts, Smith, Gibson-Gray and Cowan:

    The Antioch median income is around $66,000. Contrast us peons with your income:
    Gill: $221,432, Anello:$167,443, Rogenski:$155,761.
    How generous of Joy Mott to “honor” you with all that money out of our pockets.
    Why don’t you three pass the hat and take that $30,000 out of your own huge salaries?
    Better yet, don’t pay for a marketing survey.
    You are taxing people to death.

    Anello wrote back denying any involvement.
    None of the others responded.

  8. Julio says:

    Gary Hack is a hack. Those of you who voted him in deserve what you are getting. Dumb as a rock.

    • eileen says:

      Interesting when names aptly describe a person. They call them aptonyms. Great name for a party hack. a democrat party hack.

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