Traiman v. Alameda Unified School DistrictAnnotate this Case
School districts may levy “qualified special taxes,” Government Code section 50079, with the approval of two-thirds of district voters. A qualified special tax must “apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the school district” (with some statutory exemptions) and not be “imposed on a particular class of property or taxpayers.” Measure A, approved in 2020 by voters in the Alameda Unified School District, authorizes a tax on improved parcels at “the rate of $0.265 per building square foot not to exceed $7,999 per parcel.” In Traiman’s action challenging Measure A, the trial court ruled that the tax was not applied uniformly and invalidated the tax. The court awarded Traiman $374,960 in attorney fees (Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5).
The court of appeal reversed. Measure A tax applies uniformly within the meaning of section 50079 because every nonexempt taxpayer and every improved parcel in the District is taxed using the same formula. Neither the language of the statute, case law, legislative history, nor public policy indicates that a school district cannot base a qualified special tax on building square footage with a maximum tax per parcel.