Senior Citizens May Receive Exemption
According to Arcadia Unified School district’s website, if Measure A funding is not provided “AUSD will be faced with an approximate $7 million ongoing
budget deficit due to reductions in state funding and a down economy. Cuts of this magnitude
would directly impact classroom instruction, including teacher layoffs, increased class sizes and
reductions in instructional programs. A local funding measure would provide stable and
predictable funding that our schools can count on to protect the most essential instructional
programs for students.”
If passed, Measure A would automatically expire in five years and cannot be extended
without approval from two?thirds of local voters.
According to their website and some frequently asked questions, “The Board of Education is considering a proposal that would cost property owners between
$228 and $118 per year. A measure in this range would generate between $1.7 million and $3.4
million per year for our schools. All taxable parcels of land within the Arcadia Unified School District would pay the assessment for our schools, including businesses. This assessment would appear on property tax bills.”
But what does Measure A really mean and what are the implications?
Measure A was placed on the ballot by the Arcadia Board of Education. It is intended to supplement the AUSD’s current Federal, State, and local revenue with a $228 per parcel tax, in effect for a period of 5 years. The AUSD reports $17 million dollars in budget cuts since 2007-2008, which are said to have resulted in layoffs, larger class sizes, and reductions in academic programs. No specific further description of these cuts has been provided. School districts are required to provide detailed reports each year of their student and faculty compositions and financial situation to the state, and these are publicly available from the California Department of Education .
The following is taken from the text of the Measure A documents on AUSD’s website:
“While Arcadia Unified School District (“AUSD”) students continue to succeed, Arcadia schools are struggling to sustain the quality of our educational programs while contending with an approximate $7 million ongoing budget deficit. By the end of this school year, AUSD will have made a total of $17 million in cumulative cuts since 2007-08. Cuts of this magnitude have meant:
Larger class sizes; and
Reductions in academic programs that keep our schools strong.
California has faced a budget crisis for nearly five years now, and there is no real hope for a near term rescue by dramatic economic improvement. The State continues to struggle with its budget, and given the likely shortfall in revenues for this fiscal year, AUSD may be facing mid-year budget cuts thanks to the state budget “triggers.” Without stable funding, AUSD will be faced with an approximate $7 million ongoing budget deficit due to reductions in state funding and a down economy. Cuts of this magnitude would directly impact classroom instruction, including teacher layoffs, increased class sizes and reductions in instructional programs.
In the absence of stable funding from Sacramento, school districts across the state are asking their local voters to consider approving local funding measures, in the form of parcel taxes, to help stabilize school district budgets. A local funding measure would provide stable and predictable funding that our schools can count on to protect the most essential instructional programs for students.
To that end, the Board of Education is considering placing a local funding (parcel tax) measure on the local ballot for March, 2012. The Board is considering a proposal that would cost property owners between $228 and $118 per parcel, per year. A measure in this range would generate between $1.7 million and $3.4 million per year for our schools.
As proposed, this local funding measure will appear on the ballot on March 13, 2012. All registered voters in the Arcadia Unified School District will be eligible to vote on such a measure. The election will be conducted by use of mailed ballots only. The ballot measure must be approved by 2/3 of local voters voting on the measure. The measure would automatically expire in five years and cannot be extended without re-approval from 2/3 of local voters.
The proposed ballot measure lists the specific programs and services eligible to receive funding from the measure. By law, funds may only be used for these specified purposes. In addition, this local funding measure would specifically require a Citizens’ Oversight Committee comprised of Arcadia residents to meet regularly and review the use of funding to ensure funds are spent as promised. In addition, the funding will be subject to annual audits.
AUSD would use the local funds to help protect quality education by:
Retaining and attracting high quality teachers;
Protecting quality math, science, reading, art and music programs;
Keeping schools safe and clean;
Maintaining advanced placement and honors courses, in such subjects as physics, chemistry and biology; and
Preventing the reduction or elimination of extracurricular activities for students, like the Arcadia High School Marching Band.
Funds from this measure are specifically prohibited from being spent on administrator salaries or benefits. This will ensure that funds are allocated towards teaching and classroom instruction. All funds generated by a local funding measure must stay in the Arcadia Unified School District – the state cannot take away one dime.
All taxable parcels of land within the Arcadia Unified School District would pay the assessment for our schools, including businesses. This assessment would appear on property tax bills and be collected by the County on the District’s behalf.
Through a simple application process, senior citizen homeowners, aged 65 and older, may receive an exemption for their primary residence by filling out a one-page form and providing proof of age and residency. Low-income residents with disabilities who receive SSI benefits may apply for an exemption by filling out a form. The senior and SSI exemptions are the only exemptions permitted under California law.
Property owners without children in school will also benefit from this measure. Great schools contribute to our community. In addition to preparing our students to secure good jobs and contribute to our local economy, quality schools make Arcadia a desirable place to live and create demand for our homes. This helps keep property values strong, which is more important than ever.
Approximately $110,000 to $135,000 in election costs.”