Although the meeting contained few action items, it was packed with information about significant changes coming to WCCUSD.
D3. Communication Strategy for Fair Valuation
Campaign adviser John Whitehurst presented an examination of property assessment in Contra Costa County and its fiscal effects on local government.
Whitehurst provided a little background on the issue. When property is acquired in California, the assessable value of that property is establish the base property tax at time of sale. The law allows owners to seek a lower valuation should the property lessen in value, lessening taxes below the initial base. The law requires that the base raise and values increase.
Contra Costa has been much slower than neighboring counties to return former valuations although property prices have risen significantly. Nearly 200,000 Contra Costa property owners benefit from tax rates below their initial base amount even though their properties have reclaimed value, significantly hurting local governments. West County lost 20% of its assessed value in the financial crisis and many property owners consequently sought lower Prop 13 limits. Values have risen since 2007, but assessments aren’t reflecting increase.
WCCUSD under the leadership of my colleague Charles Ramsey is asking the county to reexamine its valuations. Specifically, should those who benefited from tax expenditures based on lower property values be under scrutiny now that those prices have risen significantly?
We will meet next week in special session with County Assessor Gus Kramer to hear the issues in detail.
D4. Report on Progress of the Strategic Plan Development
Jay Shenirer from our strategic planning consulting firm Capitol Impact presented an overview of the plan to date. The effort has heard from nearly 1500 people, piled through years of data and past plans. The next stage will synthesize the data and generate a draft plan. The public will have input in further stages as the draft is created.
F1. Agreement with United Teachers of Richmond
WCCUSD and the United Teachers of Richmond reached an agreement Wednesday in a three year contract. A very positive component of the agreement creates a joint committee to examine the best models of teacher evaluation for implementation in the district. The former evaluation system needed an serious overhaul.