Parking fundraisers in school lots may soon avoid taxes 

click to enlarge Space race: School parking lots provide an alternative to difficult-to-find street parking at festivals in Golden Gate Park. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner file photo
  • Space race: School parking lots provide an alternative to difficult-to-find street parking at festivals in Golden Gate Park.

Parent volunteers have long seen school parking lots as a moneymaking opportunity during weekend events such as Outside Lands and Fleet Week. With festival-goers willing to pay $25 for a spot, a school can raise as much as $5,000 a day.

But as The San Francisco Examiner reported in October, volunteers at schools surrounding Golden Gate Park were shocked when inspectors from the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector showed up during last year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival to demand that they collect a 25 percent tax on parking.

Next week, Supervisor Eric Mar, whose district includes several schools within walking distance of Golden Gate Park, plans to introduce legislation that will exempt volunteers for nonprofit organizations from having to collect the tax when they run parking fundraisers in public school lots.

“It will protect PTAs who are trying to raise money in these difficult economic times,” Mar said.

The ordinance, which also is supported by Mayor Ed Lee and City Treasurer Jose Cisneros, would require the police chief to distribute up to 150 special school parking event permits to nonprofits each year. Groups holding these permits also would be exempt from certain other regulations that apply to commercial parking operations.

Michelle Parker, president of the San Francisco Parent Teacher Association, said the group had worked with Mar on the ordinance.

“It’s really great because it’s going to help our PTAs continue doing what they’re doing,” Parker said.

Parker said that none of the parent groups running fundraisers last fall had paid The City, because they were awaiting a move by officials.

With the lineup for this year’s Outside Lands just announced, PTA members hope Mar’s ordinance passes before the big festivals come and go.

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

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Amy Crawford

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