La Cañada Unified School District

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Parcel Tax - Letter to Parents

Dear Parents,
 
Measure LC

Here in the La Cañada Unified School District (LCUSD), our students work alongside outstanding teachers and dedicated staff to help them reach their highest learning potential. Our schools are at the heart of our community and prepare local students with the world class education they need for successful futures. The District’s award-winning schools are among the best in Los Angeles county, making La Cañada Flintridge a desirable community for families to settle in and helping to keep property values strong.

With rigorous academic programs and dedicated teachers and staff, LCUSD consistently ranks in the top 5% in state student achievement scores with 98% of our graduates going on to college.

Continuing Local Parcel Tax to Maintain Academic Excellence

To protect our high performing schools and offset some of the impacts of state budget cuts, nearly 75% of La Cañada Flintridge voters approved Measure LC in 2009 and renewed it in 2014. Measure LC continues
to provide reliable funding to protect the most essential instructional programs for our students. The measure is set to expire in 2021. This funding has been central to the LCUSD budget.

Measure LC on the March 3, 2020 Ballot

To protect our excellent schools, the LCUSD Board of Education has placed Measure LC on the March 3, 2020 ballot to continue this critical local funding source. This measure would replace the existing parcel tax at the current rate of $450 per parcel per year, with annual inflation adjustments. Senior citizen property owners age 65+ and qualified property owners with a disability and qualified low-income (SSI and certain SSDI recipients) remain eligible for an exemption. Maintaining this locally controlled funding will allow LCUSD to continue to:

  • Attract and retain the most qualified teachers and maintain manageable class sizes
  • Continue to offer advanced educational programs in science, technology, engineering, math and robotics, as well as other programs that help our students get into top, best-fit colleges and high-demand careers
  • Keep our schools safe and classroom technology up-to-date

 

Measure LC requires all funds remain in La Cañada schools, with independent citizens oversight.

For more information, visit www.lcusd.net or feel free to contact me at (818) 952-8381 or email communications@lcusd.net with any questions

Sincerely,
Wendy Sinnette
Superintendent
Questions and Answers About LCUSD Funding and Measure LC Parcel Tax
 
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 renewed by local voters. Therefore, the Board of Education has placed a renewal of the Measure LC parcel tax on the March 3, 2020 ballot.
 
Why did the Board place Measure LC on the March 3, 2020 ballot?
Measure LC would continue existing locally controlled funding that has been central to the LCUSD budget. If voters authorize a new measure, this funding would continue to maintain our high performing schools. In 2009, local voters approved an education parcel tax of $450/year by 75% to make up for inadequate State funding, and then renewed it in 2014. Over the past 10 years, Measure LC has provided stable and locally controlled funding to protect the most essential instructional programs for local students – keeping LCUSD schools some of the best in California.
 
How would Measure LC funding be used?
Funds generated from Measure LC would stay in La Cañada schools to allow LCUSD to continue to:
• Attract and retain the most qualified teachers
• Maintain manageable class sizes
• Protect advanced educational programs in science, technology, engineering, math and robotics
• Maintain educational programs that help our students get into top, best-fit colleges and high demand careers
• Keep our schools safe
• Keep classroom technology up-to-date
 
How can I be sure that funds would be spent as promised?
The new Measure LC 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 would happen if we do not replace Measure LC?
If Measure LC is not replaced, local funding for our schools will expire in 2021, 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 raise?
The current rate of the Measure LC parcel tax 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 new Measure LC change the annual tax rate per parcel?
The Measure LC renewal would keep the same $450 per parcel annual tax rate in place. Annual adjustments for inflation would be added (limited to no more than 3%) to allow Measure LC to keep up with changes in the cost of living and ensure that funds remain sufficient over time.
 
If passed, how long would the new Measure LC remain in place?
If authorized by local voters, the Measure LC 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 Measure LC is renewed?
If senior citizens already receive an exemption on Measure LC, 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”.

Are there any other exemptions to Measure LC?
Qualified individuals with a disability and qualified low-income individuals with a disability (SSI and certain SSDI recipients) are also eligible for an exemption. 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 Measure LC?
All registered voters within the boundaries of La Cañada Unified School District are eligible to vote on the Measure LC renewal set to appear on the March 3, 2020 ballot.
 
What level of support would a renewal of Measure LC need to pass?
Measure LC 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.