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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Special District

Burbank Unified School District
Measure I - 2/3 Approval Required

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To maintain high-quality Burbank schools by retaining excellent teachers; protecting small class sizes; and maintain/expand career/college courses, art, music, science, innovative programs, safety and wellness support, shall this Burbank Unified School District measure to levy $0.10 per square foot of improved property per parcel annually, exempting seniors/certain disability recipients, providing approximately $9,100,000 in annual local funding for 12 years and requiring independent oversight/audits, be approved?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel

Approval of Measure I ("Measure") would authorize the Board of Education ("Board") of the Burbank Unified School District ("District"), which placed the Measure on the ballot by Resolution No. 4, to levy a qualified special parcel tax ("Tax") of $0.10 per square foot of improvements per year on each parcel of taxable real property within the District. A parcel of taxable property is any unit that receives a separate tax bill. If approved, the Tax will be levied annually commencing July 1, 2020, and continue for a period of 12 years.

Proceeds from the Tax shall be used for: retaining and attracting teachers and staff; maintaining class sizes; maintaining and expanding career and college courses, art, music, science and innovative programs; and maintaining and increasing safety and wellness support.

The Board shall conduct independent performance and financial audits annually to ensure that Tax proceeds are expended only for the purposes authorized by the Measure. The Board shall establish an Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee to ensure proceeds are expended only as authorized in the Measure. An annual written report shall be made to the Board showing the amount of funds collected and expended and the status of any projects funded by the Tax. Tax proceeds shall be deposited in a separate account.

Any property otherwise exempt from ad valorem property taxes in a tax year shall also be exempt from the Tax in the same year. Additionally, the following shall be exempt from the tax upon proper application to the District: any parcel owned and occupied by a person 65 years of age or older and any parcel owned and occupied by one or more persons receiving supplemental security income for a disability, regardless of age, or social security disability insurance benefits, 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, who occupies the parcel as a principal in residence. The County Assessor's determination of exemption or relief of any parcel from taxation other than the senior or disabled person exemption shall be final and binding.

The Tax shall be collected by the County Tax Collector at the same time, in the same manner, and subject to the same interest and penalties applicable to ad valorem property taxes. This Measure requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote for passage.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

VOTE YES ON BURBANK MEASURE I 

Measure I is a critical investment in the future of Burbank, our children, and the foundations of our academic institutions. Measure I is a one time, 12-year limited parcel tax where the average property owner will pay an average of $170 A YEAR, ensuring that our children can have top-notch quality schools.

Measure I is supported by State Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, in addition to all five BUSD Board of Education members because they know this is the only way we can protect the quality of Burbank schools since the vast majority of school funding comes from the State, not the City of Burbank sales tax.

If passed, Measure I will be the first and only school parcel tax ever passed in Burbank. It is strictly for our schools with citizen oversight and transparency to ensure your money is invested to maintain and expand vital science, technology, engineering, math, and art classes, retain and attract quality teachers, and increase safety and mental wellness support for students.

Measure I is NOT permanent; it only stays in effect for 12 years. It also does not apply to property owners who are 65 and older who live on the property in question, in addition to those who are disabled and live on the property they own. For those who qualify for the senior or disability exemption, they simply need to fill out a form to be exempted from the property tax.

Our schools must be equipped to prepare future generations for good-paying jobs. With technology advancing and changing our world in the blink of an eye, our schools need the resources and support to keep our future leaders competitive in the work force.

VOTE YES on Measure I to keep Burbank the best it can be.

DR. ARMOND AGHAKHANIAN
Board Member, Burbank Board of Education

BRIAN J. SMITH
Chairmen, Bond Oversight Committee

DIANA ABASTA
President, Burbank Teachers Association

CAROL BRIGGS
President, Campaign Committee

WENDI HARVEL
President, Burbank Council PTA

Arguments AGAINST

The Burbank Unified School District ("BUSD") is not living within its means. Instead, they seek to get more money from property owners. BUSD has stated that renters are likely to pay more since property owners will be forced to pass along the higher costs in the form of rent increases. Rent in Burbank is already too high!

The BUSD superintendant's base salary is more than any governor in the USA. Does that make sense to you? His total annual compensation exceeds $330,000. When he was asked repeatedly and publicly about the students' horrible state test scores, his response was, "no comment." This is unacceptable.

We already pay for the schools through our county, state, and federal taxes. Burbank voters have been generous in the past and approved hundreds of millions of dollars in school improvement bonds, for which we are still paying.

BUSD has stated that 80-90% of the proposed $108 million tax will be used for teacher/staff pay increases and to hire more staff for things like art, music, and PE in grades K-5. MOST OF THE MONEY WILL NOT GO FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECTS of English and math. It is shameful that most of the money will go for salary increases when they just received a raise in 2019.

Most teachers and staff get summers off and more than four weeks of additional time off not including many days of available sick leave and other approved time off. Can you name any other profession that gets 17 weeks of time off per year?

We need to send a clear message to the BUSD to live within its means like the rest of us. 

Please join us and the 14,093 persons who voted NO the first time BUSD tried this and VOTE NO AGAIN!

JOEL SCHLOSSMAN
Parent - Property Owner

DR. IAN HAMEL, D.D.S.
Business Owner

RICHARD L. AINSWORTH
Retired

ROBERT WELCH
Property Owner - Concerned Citizen

JOSE RUVALCABA
Tenant

Replies to Arguments FOR

Lies and scare tactics.

This parcel tax is not "critical" to Burbank's future. Ignore the politicians' endorsements. What else would a politician say? Same people told us that the school bond was a one-time deal, but they did it again. BUSD Tricked us once already.

All persons over 65 are not exempted. If your income is over $2,327 monthly and you receive SSDI benifits, you must pay. Exemption form must be signed under penalty of perjury subject to public review.

Don't listen to the Chicken Littles telling you the sky is falling. According to BUSD, up to $97 million is for pay raises for staff and to hire even more staff. Hundreds of BUSD employees earn between $80,000 and $100,000, not including benefits and pension contributions. Dozens more earn between $100,000 and $200,000. Top pay is earned by time on job, education level, and service stipends.

The Burbank Leader's reporter, Andrew Campa, has done a poor job, and perhaps a biased job of covering this parcel tax. To date, he has never printed one negative word. Furthermore, Mr. Campa sent an e-mail to the Superintendent offering his suggestion to "woo" voters; this is proof of his attempt to influence voters.

BUSD employees already get periodic pay increases; it is built into their contracts. If any employee thinks the grass is greener elsewhere, let's wish them well and say goodbye.

Our schools are in wonderful condition, thanks to the hundreds of millions of dollars in school bonds.

VOTE NO on this new and unnecessary tax.

JOEL SCHLOSSMAN
Parent - Property Owner

RICHARD L. AINSWORTH
Retired

ROBERT WELCH
Property Owner - Concerned Citizen

JOSE RUVALCABA
Tenant

DR. IAN HAMEL, D.D.S.
Business Owner

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

THE FACTS ON MEASURE I

FACT: BUSD consistently lives within its budget, despite more spending mandates from Sacramento and declining enrollment, which reduces funding. The vast majority of BUSD  funding – nearly 95% – comes from state and federal funds, which have not kept up with increasing costs.

FACT: Burbank teachers are some of the lowest-paid teachers in LA County. BUSD ranks 45th out of 47 in terms of teacher raises in LA County. Nothing is more critical to student success than high-quality teachers. Without the ability to offer competitive wages, it is difficult to attract and retain the best and brightest teachers to prepare our students for college and careers.

FACT: This parcel tax is limited to twelve years and is NOT PERMANENT. It will be the FIRST parcel tax ever implemented in Burbank. This is NOT a sales tax, and sales tax funds DO NOT go to public schools.

FACT: ANY senior 65 and older, who owns and lives in their home in Burbank, is exempt from the parcel tax for that home. There are no income requirements; the exemption applies to ALL seniors who fill out the required single page form and send it in.

FACT: The average home in Burbank is less than 1,700 square feet, which means the average homeowner will pay less than $170 PER YEAR, which is roughly $14 a month.

The opponents of this measure are spreading misinformation and lies. Please review the facts for yourself at www.yesforburbankschools.com.

ARMOND AGHAKHANIAN
Board Member, Burbank School Board

DIANA ABASTA
President, Burbank Teachers Association

WENDI HARVEL
President, Burbank Council PTA

CAROL BRIGGS
President, Campaign Committee

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