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School District Faces Another Lawsuit Over Parcel Tax

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The Alameda Unified School District is facing another lawsuit over a parcel tax. (File Photo)

The Alameda Unified School District announced today that it is facing a lawsuit over Measure B1, last November’s latest parcel tax, filed by the same plaintiffs that successfully sued the district over Measure H, approved by voters in 2008.

The three plaintiffs in the current suit (Nelco, Inc., Santa Clara Investors II, and Edward Hirshberg) were part of a group that also sued the district over Measure H, a parcel tax passed in 2008.

An appeals court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that Measure H, in part, violated state law requiring uniform tax assessments.

The school district appealed that ruling to the California Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case, leaving the appeals court ruling against the district to stand.

The plaintiffs also sued the district over Measure A, the parcel tax that Measure B1 replaces.

As with Measure H, the trial court ruled against the plaintiffs. However, the ruling in their favor on Measure H came too late to allow the plaintiffs to meet deadlines to file an appeal of the Measure A lower court ruling.

The district says a successful lawsuit puts more than $12 million of revenue per year at risk; residents will have to ultimately decide if it’s the school district’s fault for putting a potentially flawed tax measure on the ballot, or the fault of the plaintiffs for taking the matter to court.

“The Alameda community has shown us again and again that they value these programs and are willing to pay a parcel tax to support them,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “We are disappointed that these plaintiffs continue to try to block this funding. But we structured Measure B1 in a way that we believe is fair and legal, and we will fight for this tax, these students, and our community with determination and diligence so we can best provide for the children and families we serve.”

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