Big Bear, CA, February 9, 2012, 8:00am – Last night the Bear Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees met in a Special Board meeting to discuss one heavily weighted agenda item.  Board members reviewed a Parcel Tax Consulting Agreement presented by Charles Heath of TBWB Strategies, a political consulting firm.  Mr. Heath most recently outlaid the process and challenges for implementing a Parcel Tax in a meeting on February 6th.  At that meeting, Mr. Heath made the recommendation to the Board that our community be surveyed or polled to determine today’s opinions regarding implementing a Parcel Tax to help protect our schools financially from the State’s budget cuts.  Survey and tracking information from 2010 and 2011 was presented at last Monday’s meeting.  This Wednesday night’s discussion debated the value of paying for another survey as well as the overall cost of the TBWB Strategies agreement.  Superintendent Kurt Madden made a recommendation to the Board to approve the Parcel Tax Consulting Agreement, totaling $53,705 using District Fund 40 dollars and entering into an agreement with the firm.  District Fund 40 dollars can be used only for capitol expenses for one-time monies.  The $53,705 agreement breakdown consisted of an $18,750 base charge, $18,900 new survey, $10,655 for informational brochure costs, $2,400 for travel expenses for Mr. Heath as well as miscellaneous charges.  Many Board members expressed concern for committing to spend dollars on another survey.  As Dr.Al Waner commented, the survey won’t matter much if the plan is to go ahead with a Parcel Tax anyway.  Paul Zamoyta suggested using the almost $19,000 survey cost to inform the public with pre-campaign mailers and that those dollars may be better spent on educating the public as to why a Parcel Tax is necessary.  Ultimately, the Board voted unanimously to approve $34,805 for the Parcel Tax Consulting Agreement eliminating the expense for a new survey.  Board President, Randy Putz, stated for the record that he was uncomfortable with moving forward without a new survey.  Additionally, the Board discussed their initial thoughts on how much the Parcel Tax should be but several stated it was too soon to know that answer.  The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be held on February 15th.