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March 7, 2017 — Local Elections
Ballot and voting information for Los Angeles County.
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Arcadia Teacher and Academic Instruction Protection

Special District
March 7, 2017Local Elections

Arcadia Unified School District
Measure A - 2/3 Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

4,874 votes yes (67.63%)

2,333 votes no (32.37%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (14/14).

To keep Arcadia schools among the best in California by renewing approximately $4.3 million in annual local funding the state cannot take away, shall Arcadia Unified School District continue attracting/retaining quality teachers; keeping schools safe/clean; protecting quality math, science, technology, reading, writing, art and music programs by extending the expiring school parcel tax at $288 per parcel annually for 18 years, requiring independent oversight/audits, senior exemptions, and all funds used locally to maintain quality education?

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Approval of Measure A (“Measure”) would authorize the Board of Education (“Board”) of the Arcadia Unified School District (“District”), which called for placement of the Measure on the ballot by Resolution No. 1344, to extend the expiring school parcel tax (“Tax”) at $288 per parcel of taxable real property. The Tax, if approved, will be levied annually beginning July 1, 2017, and continue for a period of eighteen (18) years from that date.

Proceeds from the Tax authorized by the Measure shall be used for the purposes specified in the Measure, namely, retaining and attracting quality teachers, keeping schools safe and clean, protecting quality math, science, reading, art and music programs, and maintaining advanced placement and honors courses in physics, chemistry and biology. No Tax proceeds may be used for district office administrators’ salaries and benefits.

Any parcels that are otherwise exempt from ad valorem taxes shall also be exempt from the Tax in such year. Owners of multiple parcels that are contiguous and used as one single-family residential unit and held under identical ownership may apply to the District to have the parcels treated as a single parcel. In addition, under procedures adopted by the District, an exemption to the Tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons who are 65 years or older; or who receive Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, regardless of age; or who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, and whose annual income is below the maximum threshold. The parcel must be used as the person’s principal place of residence and they must own a beneficial interest in the parcel.

An annual written report must be made to the Board showing the amount of the funds collected and expended from the Tax and the status of the projects or programs funded from the Tax. The Measure would continue to require an independent citizens’ oversight committee, which is required to report annually to the Board and the public regarding the expenditure of funds. Tax proceeds shall be deposited in a separate, special account.

The Tax shall be collected by the County Treasurer and Tax Collector at the same time and in the same manner as ad valorem property taxes, and shall be subject to the same penalties applicable to ad valorem property taxes. The Tax shall bear interest at the same rate as for unpaid ad valorem property taxes until paid.

 

This Measure requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote for passage.

— Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel

Arguments FOR

Voting Yes on A renews locally controlled funding for Arcadia schools approved by voters in 2012 that will expire later this year.

Arcadia’s schools rank in the top 4% in the State and student test scores consistently exceed state standards for excellence. Over 90% of Arcadia graduates go on to college or other post-secondary education. High quality Arcadia schools protect our property values and keep Arcadia a safe and desirable place to live.

Measure A keeps Arcadia schools strong by renewing locally controlled education funding that Sacramento cannot touch. Without Measure A, these funds will expire later this year and Arcadia schools will lose over $3 million per year, requiring deep cuts including teacher layoffs, increases in class sizes, and elimination of many instructional programs.

We can’t count on Sacramento to adequately fund our schools. Measure A continues predictable and stable local school funding to support teachers and instructional programs for children entering kindergarten now, and continuing until they graduate from high school.

Specifically, Measure A will allow Arcadia schools to continue:

- Retaining high quality teachers

- Keeping schools safe and clean

- Protecting math, science, reading, art and music programs

- Maintaining advanced placement and honors courses in subjects like physics,

chemistry and biology

Measure A continues strict fiscal accountability requirements to ensure funds are

spent properly, including:

- An independent citizens’ oversight committee and annual audits

- No funds may be used for administrator salaries, pensions or benefits

- By law, all funds must stay in Arcadia schools and cannot be taken by the state

- Senior citizens are eligible for an exemption

Whether or not you have school-age children, protecting quality schools and our home values is a wise investment.

Please join parents, teachers, business and civic leaders in voting Yes on A.

            JOANN E. STEINMEIER
            Past School Board President/39-year Arcadia resident
            MICHAEL S. STILES
            Arcadia High School Booster Club President

            DAVID LEE
            Past President, Arcadia Chinese Association

            JAMES C. ROMO
            Attorney/Former Member, Board of Education

            ANTHONY P. PARRILLE
            Measure A Parcel Tax Citizens’ Oversight Committee Member

NO ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS MEASURE WAS SUBMITTED

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Arguments AGAINST

NO ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS MEASURE WAS SUBMITTED

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Proposed legislation

PURPOSE

Thanks to outstanding academic programs, highly qualified teachers and a community that values education, our schools in the Arcadia Unified School District (“AUSD” or “District”) are a source of community pride. Arcadia schools rank in the top 4% of all school districts in California and student test scores are well above the California standard for excellence. Over 90% of students who graduate from Arcadia schools go on to college or other post-secondary training.

Locally-Controlled School Funding Sustains Excellence

In 2012, following consecutive years of deep budget cuts that included teacher layoffs, increases to class sizes and cuts to academic programs, over 67% of Arcadia voters approved Measure A to provide locally controlled funding for our schools that cannot be taken away by the state. Funds from Measure A have been used to keep Arcadia schools among the best by preventing further cuts, retaining qualified and experienced teachers and protecting core academic programs in math, science, reading and writing. Since the passage of Measure A, an independent oversight committee has reviewed the use of funds and confirmed they have been spent as promised.

Local School Funding Set To Expire Next Year

Local school funding approved in 2012 automatically expires after five years. Unless renewed by voters, this funding will expire next year and Arcadia schools will lose over $3 million in annual funding. A funding loss of this magnitude would mean deep cuts including teacher layoffs, increases in class sizes, and elimination of many instructional programs for students.

Renewing Local School Funding

In order to continue this important source of local school funding, the Arcadia Unified School District Board of Education is proposing to renew local school funding at $288 per parcel, per year. If approved by voters, funds from a renewal measure would be used for:

- Retaining and attracting high quality teachers

- Keeping schools safe and clean

- Protecting quality math, science, reading, art and music programs

- Maintaining advanced placement and honors courses, in such subjects as

physics, chemistry and biology

Strict Fiscal Accountability Would Still Be Mandatory

The proposed renewal measure would continue to require strict accountability

protections including:

- An independent citizens’ oversight committee and annual audits

- No funds may be used for district office administrators’ salaries and benefits

- By law, all funds will stay local to benefit Arcadia schools and cannot be taken

by Sacramento

Stable Education Funding Through 12th Grade

Sacramento has been an unreliable partner for funding our schools. Funding per student in California is among the lowest in the nation and Arcadia ranks among the lowest funded school districts in Los Angeles County. The proposed renewal measure is designed to last for 18 years to ensure Arcadia students born now will have an education protected from deep budget cuts by locally controlled school funding until they graduate from high school.

Top Quality Arcadia Schools Contribute To Our Great Community

Arcadia residents benefit from living in a community with great schools. In addition to preparing students to get 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 our property values strong.

TERMS

A. Amount and Basis of Tax

This Measure shall authorize the District to annually levy a qualified special tax of $288 per Parcel of Taxable Real Property beginning July 1, 2017, and continuing for a period of eighteen (18) years. This qualified special tax is estimated to raise $4.3 million in annual local funding for District schools. The amount of annual local funding raised by this qualified special tax may vary from year-to-year.

To the extent allowed by law, “Parcel of Taxable Real Property” shall be defined as:

1.  Any unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for ad valorem property taxes from the County Tax Collector.

2.  All property that is otherwise exempt from or upon which are levied no ad valorem property taxes in any year shall not be considered a Parcel of Taxable Real Property for purposes of the qualified special tax in such year.

3.  Multiple parcels which are contiguous to each other, in actual use as one single-family residential unit, and held under identical ownership will, upon approval of an application from the owners thereof submitted to the District, be treated as a single Parcel of Taxable Real Property. Applications for such treatment must be made to the District on or before July 1, 2017, or before July 1 of any succeeding tax year. Any one approved application from a qualified applicant will provide for such treatment for the remaining term of the qualified special tax, so long as all of the parcels remains eligible for this treatment. Parcels approved for this treatment under the current qualified special tax levied by the District pursuant to Measure A will not require re-application and will continue to receive such treatment for the term of the qualified special tax levied pursuant to this Measure so long as such parcels remain eligible for this treatment.

If any portion of this definition is deemed contrary to law, the Board declares and the voters by approving the Measure concur, that every other section and part of this definition has independent value, and the Board and voters would have adopted each other section and part hereof regardless of every other section or part hereof. If all sections or parts of this definition are deemed contrary to law, “Parcel of Taxable Real Property” shall be defined as any real property in the District assigned an assessor’s parcel number.

B. Exemptions  

Under procedures adopted by the District, an exemption from payment of the qualified special tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons who is/are:

4.  An individual who will attain 65 years of age prior to July 1 of the tax year, owns a beneficial interest in the parcel, and uses that parcel as his or her principal place of residence; or,

5.  Receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age, owns a beneficial interest in the parcel, and uses that parcel as his or her principal place of residence; or,

6.  Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, whose yearly income does not exceed 250 percent of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, owns a beneficial interest in the parcel, and uses that parcel as his or her principal place of residence.

Applications for all exemptions shall be made to the District in accordance with District policies and on or before July 1 of any tax year. Any one approved application from a qualified applicant will provide an exemption for the parcel for the remaining term of the qualified special tax so long as such applicant remains eligible for the exemption. Exemptions granted under the current qualified special tax levied by the District pursuant to Measure A will not require re-approval and will provide an exemption for the parcel for the term of the qualified special tax levied pursuant to this Measure so long as such applicant remains eligible for the exemption.

The District will annually provide to the County Tax Collector or other appropriate County tax official a list of parcels that the District has approved for exemption.

C. Claims / Exemption Procedures

With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor or other appropriate Los Angeles County tax official (“County”) will make all final determinations of tax exemption or relief for any reason, and that decision will be final and binding. With respect to matters specific to the levy of the qualified special tax, including exemptions and the treatment of certain contiguous parcels, the decisions of the District will be final and binding. The procedures described herein, and any additional procedures established by the Board, will be the exclusive claims procedure for claimants seeking an exemption, refund, reduction, or re-computation of the qualified special tax. Whether any particular claim is to be resolved by the District or by the County will be determined by the District, in coordination with the County as necessary.

The Board may adopt such additional or supplemental procedures as it deems necessary or convenient for the administration of the qualified special tax.

A. Mandatory Accountability Protections

In accordance with the requirements of Government Code sections 50075.1 and 50075.3, the following accountability measures will apply to the qualified special tax levied in accordance with this Measure:

7.  The specific purposes of the qualified special tax must be those purposes identified above;

8.  The proceeds of the qualified special tax must be applied only to those specific purposes identified above;

9.  A separate, special account will be created into which the proceeds of qualified special taxes must be deposited; and,

10.      An annual written report must be made to the Board showing (i) the amount of funds collected and expended from the proceeds of the qualified special taxes and (ii) the status of any projects or programs required or authorized to be funded from the proceeds of the qualified special taxes, as identified above. The annual written report may be combined or included with any other report of the District, as long as that report contains all of the information required by this paragraph.

In addition, the Citizens’ Measure A Oversight Committee (“Committee”) established by Board Resolution No. 1271 shall ensure that the qualified special tax proceeds of Measure A and this Measure are spent for their authorized purposes, and will report annually to the Board and the public regarding the expenditure of such funds. The Committee shall fulfill the requirement for an annual report by reviewing and making written comments upon each annual report required by the preceding paragraph before the report is presented to the Board. The Board may revise the Committee’s composition, duties, funding, bylaws, and other necessary information regarding its operation.

E.      Appropriations Limit

Pursuant to California Constitution article XIIIB and applicable laws, the appropriations limit for the District will be adjusted periodically by the aggregate sum collected by levy of this qualified special tax.

A.      Protection of Funding

Current law forbids any decrease in State or federal funding to the District resulting from the adoption of qualified special tax. However, if any such funding is reduced or affected because of the adoption of this local funding measure, then the Board may reduce the amount of the qualified special taxes levied as necessary in order to restore such State or federal funding and/or maximize the District’s fiscal position for the benefit of the educational program. As a result, whether directly or indirectly, no funding from this measure may be taken away by the State or federal government.

B.      Severability  

 

The Board hereby declares, and the voters by approving this Measure concur, that every section and part of this Measure has independent value, and the Board and the voters would have adopted each provision hereof regardless of every other provision hereof. Upon approval of this Measure by the voters, should any part of the Measure or taxing formula be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, all remaining parts of the Measure or taxing formula hereof shall remain in full force and effect to the fullest extent allowed by law.

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