La Cañada Unified School District

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Parcel Tax » LCUSD Local Funding Frequently Asked Questions

LCUSD Local Funding Frequently Asked Questions

How do La Cañada schools compare to other districts in California?
Schools within the La Cañada Unified School District (LCUSD) are among the best in the State and have been recognized with National Blue Ribbon, California Distinguished Schools, and Schools to Watch distinctions over many years. Thanks to outstanding academic programs, and highly qualified teachers, student achievement scores are consistently in the State’s top 5%, and 98% of high school graduates go on to college. In fact, last year 98% of our high school graduates enrolled in post-secondary institutions and many are attending the nation’s top universities.
 
How are LCUSD schools funded?
The vast majority of local school funding comes from the State. Unfortunately, the State of California provides far less money per student than nearly every other state in the country – and with changes in the state funding formula, La Cañada schools receive some of the lowest levels of per student funding in California. We can’t rely on the State if we want to have high quality schools in our community. While our local education foundation works hard to support our students with its private fundraising efforts, it can’t close state funding gaps.
 
Local voter support has been a key factor in the success of La Cañada schools. To protect our high performing schools, in 2009, nearly 75% of La Cañada Flintridge voters approved Measure LC, a local parcel tax, and renewed it in 2014. Measure LC provides reliable funding to protect the most essential instructional programs for our students. The measure is set to expire in 2021 unless local voters renew it. Therefore, the Board of Education is considering placing a renewal measure before local voters in an upcoming election.
 
How would renewing this existing source of funding support La Cañada schools?
This funding has been central to the LCUSD budget. If voters authorize a renewal, this funding source would continue to maintain our high performing schools. The existing measure has provided stable and locally controlled funding to protect the most essential instructional programs for local students over the past 10 years – keeping LCUSD schools some of the best in California.
Specifically, what does the existing parcel tax funding pay for and how would renewed funds be used?
Funds generated from this local funding stream stay in La Cañada schools to:
• Fund advanced programs in math, science, technology and robotics
• Attract and retain the most qualified teachers
• Maintain manageable class sizes
• Continue providing advanced educational programs that prepare our students for the best colleges and careers
 
How can I be sure that funds would be spent as promised?
Renewing the existing tax would continue the existing fiscal accountability provisions requiring a clear system of accountability.
• Existing independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee would remain in place, annually reviewing expenditures to ensure that these funds continue to be spent as promised to voters.
• All money raised by the measure would stay in the District to support school instruction
• Continue providing a stable source of locally controlled funding that cannot be taken away by the State or used for administrator salaries.
• Optional Senior Exemption for property owners who are 65 or older would continue.
 
What will happen if we do not renew this local funding source?
If the existing measure is not renewed, local funding for our schools will expire, which will impact the quality of our local schools. Without this funding, our schools would have to cut teachers, librarians, counselors and support staff, eliminate academic programs, and increase class sizes.
 
How much does the existing parcel tax cost?
The current rate of local funding is set at $450 per parcel per year and raises approximately $2.5 million in annual school funding used to protect quality education in our local schools.
 
Would the renewal measure change the annual tax rate per parcel?
The renewal measure would keep the same $450 per parcel annual tax rate in place. An annual adjustment for inflation would be added to allow the measure to keep up with changes in the cost of living and ensure that funds remain sufficient over time. No final decision has yet been made on an annual inflation adjustment rate.
 
If renewed, how long would the existing parcel tax remain in place?
If authorized by local voters, the renewal measure would continue until ended by local voters.
 
Senior citizen homeowners are exempt from current parcel tax. How would they continue to receive an exemption if this measure is renewed?
If senior citizens already receive an exemption on the existing measure, they would continue to be exempt and would not have to apply again. Their exemption would carry forward upon the renewal of Measure LC. For new applicants, senior citizen homeowners (aged 65 and older) would receive an exemption from their primary residence by filling out a simple form and providing proof of age and residency. To find out more about the exemption process, please call the district at (818) 952-8300 or visit www.lcusd.net and click on “Parcel tax Exemptions”.
 
Who would be able to vote on the potential measure?
If the Board places a measure on the ballot, all registered voters within the boundaries of La Cañada Unified School District are eligible to vote on the renewal measure.
 
What level of support would this measure need to pass?
This measure would need to be supported by at least 66.7% of those who vote on the measure in order for it to pass.
 
How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?
You can register to vote at www.registertovote.ca.gov. To find out more about voting in this election, please contact the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters at (800) 815-2666.
 
How can I find out more?
For more information, visit www.lcusd.net or feel free to contact LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette at (818) 952-8381 or email communications@lcusd.net with any questions.