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Passage of state, local taxes avoids $2M cuts annually
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RIPON - Thanks to voters Ripon Unified schools are avoiding $2 million a year in cuts.

Had the local Measure G tax measure and Proposition 30 on the statewide ballot not passed, cuts characterized as “severe” would have been made to classroom budgets.

The statewide quarter cent sales tax and income jump on annual incomes over $250,000 eliminated the needs for $1.7 million in annual cuts due to reduced state funding that would have started this school year.

Passage of Measure G means the district will avoid being socked with balloon payments of $300,000 annually starting in 2014-15 on land secured for the school farm and a future high school site on Clinton South Avenue.

Currently, the general fund covers a $75,000 annual payment. The increase in general fund expenditures for the land payment is the equivalent of 3.5 classroom teachers once all compensation including benefits is taken into account.

Superintendent Louise Johnson noted that since the district “had already cut to the bone” had the two tax measures not passed they would have been “cutting into the bone marrow.”

The unofficial final count from the San Joaquin County Elections Office had the bond measure passing with 57.32 percent of the vote with 4,109 for and 3,059 against. After initial counting was completed election night and before all remaining mail-in ballots were tabulated, the measure was leading by a 55.39 percent plurality. The tax needed 55 percent support to pass.

The district now has to wait until next month for Measure G election results to be certified. Once that is done, the district can move forward with selling the $25.3 million bond measure and hopefully start work in 2013 on replacing aging and deteriorating classrooms at both the Colony Oak and Weston elementary school campuses.