Ways to Support Measure M, the Parcel Tax for West County Schools

At it’s meeting of August 10, 2010, Communities Organized to Support Adult School (COSAS) voted to support the proposed parcel tax for West County schools. The parcel tax has a letter now: Measure M, and its website, www.forthechildrenofwestcounty.com  just went live.  On the website, there is information about many ways to support the parcel tax, including how to donate funds and how to volunteer for phone banking, precinct walking and other activities. If you are on Facebook,you can also “like” the Measure M Facebook page at “Yes on Measure M for West County Children”. “Liking” the facebook page, while it may seem like a small act and certainly does not take much time, is actually extremely helpful, according to Parcel Tax Steering Committee co-chair Glen Price.

Phone banking  begins the last week of September,beginning Tuesday, September 28,  and will take place every Tuesday at the Mechanics Bank in Hercules and every Wednesday and Thursday at Local One, 4197 Lakeside Drive, Suite 170, Richmond (near Hilltop YMCA). There will also be phone banking at both locations on Friday October 29 and Monday, November 1. Phone banking is from 5:30 to 8:00 pm and begins with free dinner!  Phone bankers receive a script to use when making calls and fill out a form to report on the outcome of each call.

There will be three big precinct walking events in October: an Octorber 2 walk covering the northern section of the West Contra Costa Unified School District , probably with a  rallying point in Pinole, an October 9 walk covering the central section of the district with a rallying point at Easter Hill United Methodist Church, 3911 Cutting Blvd., Richmond,and an October 16 walk covering the  southern section of the district.  The walks will take place from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on those dates. Walkers will receive a brief training and go out in teams.  There is a need for drivers to drop groups of students off at walk locations.

At its upcoming meeting of September 15, from 6:30-8:30 pm, COSAS will discuss ways we might get involved in supporting Measure M as a group, including getting together a group to go phonebanking on the same night and  participating in the precinct walks.  The meeting will take place at English Action Center, 2369 Barrett Ave. (in the Grace Lutheran Church, corner of Barrett Ave. and 24th Street), Richmond, and includes a potluck dinner, so please bring a dish to share and a big appetite if you are coming. Children are welcome, and there will be a table with activities for them.  We will also discuss inviting state elected officials to visit adult school programs and a possible  candidate’s night with simultaneous translation so that English language learners can be fully integrated into the procedings.  Also, we will consider a possible group excursion to the “Blossoms and Thorns” exhibit at the Richmond Art Center.  This exhibit, about the historic Japanese greenhouses of Richmond, has a connection to adult education because oral histories of adult school students at the Sakura Kai Senior Center were used to help create the exhibit.

When Board of  Education members Antonio Medrano and Audrey Miles visited the COSAS meeting of  August 10, they explained that parcel tax monies, should Measure M pass, will be dedicated to K-12 education.  Parcel tax funds will not be spent on adult education.  COSAS has decide to support the parcel tax as part of its larger mission of supporting public education in general. Mr. Medrano and Ms. Miles did say that if the parcel tax passes, it is hoped that the district will be able to maintain services, including adult education services, at their present level. This would, however, depend on what ultimately happens with the State of California’s budget, which is now months overdue and not likely to pass any time soon.

The next Parcel Tax  Steering Committee meeting will take place next Saturday, September 18,  from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at Local One, 4197 Lakeside Drive, Suite 170, Richmond, CA.

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