McAteer reverses plan to introduce tax
A month ago, Terry McAteer, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, had intended to introduce a new tax on the ballot in November geared to save arts, music, physical education and other enrichment classes from getting slashed from school programs.
But in a letter issued May 18 by his office to trustees of the school districts under his jurisdiction and the Nevada County Board of Education, McAteer revoked his plans.
In the letter, McAteer explained that the decision to not introduce the tax was made after discussing the matter with the district superintendents.
“When we started this idea (of introducing the tax), it was well before anyone else had thought of putting any taxes on the ballot,” McAteer said. “Since then Grass Valley, Nevada City and the governor have placed multiple tax issues on the ballot. Therefore, we think our chances of success coupled with these multiple taxes get diminished.”
There is another reason for not introducing the tax, McAteer said. In the governor’s May revised budget, money has been allocated for arts and music programs.
“The May revision includes a grant amount for arts and music programs at $25 per pupil,” said Terena Mendonca, assistant superintendent for business at the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office. “His January budget included an amount of $100 million for this. He has increased it to $166 million. What that could mean, if the Legislature accepts all this, is that arts and music funding for K though 12 at $25 per pupil could add up to $300,000 a year for Nevada County.
“In addition to that, he is proposing $250 million in one-time funds for arts and music supplies. That equates to almost $43 per average daily attendance. There again, it could bring in half a million in one-time money.”
McAteer said the governor realized that arts programs were being eliminated and wanted to keep them alive.
Mendonca, however, cautioned that the budget has to be approved by the Legislature to become a reality. That would take place possibly around July or August. Once approved by the Legislature, it would come back to the governor for his final approval.
To contact staff writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros @theunion.com or call 477-4229.
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