Long Beach Unified School District parcel tax, Measure T (November 2009)

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A Long Beach Unified School District parcel tax, Measure T ballot question was on the November 3, 2009 ballot for voters in the Long Beach Unified School District in Los Angeles County, where it was defeated.[1]

If Measure T had been approved, it would have authorized the school district to impose a parcel tax of $92 per parcel/per year. This would have lasted for five years, starting on July 1, 2010. There are 125,352 parcels in the district, leading the district to expect that if the new tax had been imposed, it would have gained $11.5 million in revenue each year.[2]

2/3rds of those voting would have had to vote "yes" for the parcel tax to go into effect.

LBUSD, the third-largest school system in California, has never had a parcel tax.[3] Of the 1,042 public school districts in California, about 245 have adopted a parcel tax since 1983.

LBUSD voters approved Measure K in November 2008. Measure K authorized a $1.2 billion bond that is costing property owners in the district $60 per $100,000 of assessed property value annually for 25 years.[4]

Election results

Measure T
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No20,39156.13%
Yes 15,939 43.87%
These final election results are from the Los Angeles County election office.

Support

"Yes on T" website banner
  • School board member Jon Meyer, noting that the tax, if imposed, would amount to $7.67/month for each parcel in the district, said, "Gee whiz, it costs ... $12 just to go to a movie."[1]
  • Beverly O'Neill, a former mayor of Long Beach, who said, ""We have such an outstanding unified school district. I share such pride in what they're doing. I want to help them in any way I can. They've been very cautious in the way they've done things in the past."[5]
  • Former Gov. George Deukmejian, who said, "We can no longer depend upon Sacramento to provide the funds necessary to maintain a high-quality educational program here in Long Beach. In my opinion, those of us who live here need to do everything we possibly can to maintain as a high a level of educational programs as possible."[5]
  • Measure T was endorsed by the Los Angeles County chapter of the AFL-CIO.[6]
  • The Arts Council of Long Beach endorsed Measure T. They believed that if Measure T passed, art and music programs would be less likely to be cut.[7]
  • Long Beach City Council member Robert Garcia.[8]
  • The editorial board of the Long Beach Gazette, which said, "We need to keep our schools functioning at their current level, and the only way to insure that is to pass Measure T at the special election Tuesday."[9]

Opponents

  • The editorial board of the Long Beach Press-Telegram urged their readers to vote "no" on Measure T. They wrote, "Tens of thousands of Californians are caught in a web of diminishing income and fears of losing everything they have struggled to attain. Even $92 for a struggling family is significant. It's not an easy choice, but we recommend a "no" vote on Measure T."[10][11]
  • "Citizens for Sensible Schools" opposed Measure T. They said voters have already agreed to significant tax measures in recent years.[5]

Chamber adopts neutral stance

The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce adopted a neutral position toward Measure T. They said, "The Long Beach Chamber has a long-standing position of supporting LBUSD and its endeavors. The chamber is committed to supporting education for our students today which leads to innovation, economic development, and ultimately wealth creation in the future. Fundamentally, an educated workforce is essential to success in the business community. Conversely, a primary concern to the Chamber is fairness: the parcel tax would apply only to owner-occupied single-family homes, not to renters and not to those over the age of sixty-five. Thus, the tax base appears to be narrow compared to those who would directly benefit, which in particular may include many who rent their homes.[12]

LBUSD budget

A significant amount of LBUSD's annual budget comes from the state government, as is the case for all public school districts in California. Since the state budget is experiencing a steep dropoff in tax revenues, it is giving less money than it otherwise would have to school districts such as LBUSD. LBUSD expects to have to cut $90 million from its own budget over the next two years, or about $45 million/year, based on the reduced amount it expects to get from the state. If Measure T had been approved, it would have generated about $11.5 million/year. In that case, the district would still have had a $34 million/year decline in revenues.[13][14]

Cost of election

See also: Costs of administering local elections

The cost of conducting the special election for Measure T was estimated to be $300,000.[10]

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:

Measure T: "The Classroom Teacher, Student Safety, and Education Measure. To preserve quality

neighborhood schools despite severe state budget cuts by retaining superior teachers, maintaining small class sizes, vocational/job training, college prep, essential academic and after school programs, and protect property values, shall Long Beach Unified School District levy a $ 92 annual education parcel tax, for five years, requiring senior exemptions, citizens’ oversight, no money for administrators and funding only for neighborhood schools?"[15]

See also

External links

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References

Additional reading