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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Special District

Alameda Unified School District
Measure A Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passed

19,554 votes yes (67.1%)

9,588 votes no (32.9%)

100% of precincts reporting (38/38).

To support all Alameda students and maintain high-quality Alameda schools by attracting and retaining excellent teachers and employees, sustaining strong academic programs in reading, writing, math, arts/sciences, and helping counselors support struggling students, shall an Alameda Unified School District measure, levying $0.265 per building area square foot (capped at $7,999 per parcel) and $299 per vacant parcel annually for 7 years, be adopted, raising $10,500,000 annually with senior exemptions, audits, oversight, and all funds staying local?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by https://www.lwvalameda.org/uploads/8/9/2/9/89297946/pros_cons_for_ausd_measure_a-league_of_women_voters_of_alameda.pdf

Supporters say

  • The Measure would assist in retaining and attracting teachers and staff and reduce turnover of teachers and staff. 
  • The Measure would assist in recruiting teachers for hard-to-find subject areas such as special education and math. 
  • The Measure requires strict fiscal accountability.

Opponents say

  • This is the fourth educational tax for Alameda Voters and is not a sustainable long-term solution. 
  • Measure A would be one more regressive tax. A better option is for the State to fund schools through a progressive tax such as the income tax. 
  • If Schools and Communities First is passed in November, then 40% of the $12B will go to California schools.

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

The District is authorized to levy a Parcel Tax for seven years to increase teacher and employee salary and benefits.

NO vote means

The District is not authorized to levy a new Parcel Tax.

Summary

Measure A is a Parcel Tax dedicated to increase AUSD teacher and staff salaries and benefits. If Measure A is approved, the District will levy an annual special tax on all Alameda Parcels of Taxable Real Property beginning July 1, 2020 for a period of 7 years. The Tax will be levied at the rate of $0.265 per building square foot not to exceed $7,999 per parcel and at the rate of $299 per vacant parcel. The Tax would cost the average homeowner $424 per year. A portion of the revenues (9.5%) will be dedicated annually to support Alameda students in existing public charter schools located in Alameda in proportion to their enrollment of Alameda resident students. The funds can be used solely for salary and benefit increases for employees. Annual exemptions to the Parcel Tax will be granted to principal residences owned by one or more persons age 65 years or older and to principal residences owned by one or more persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits, regardless of age.

Background

https://www.lwvalameda.org/uploads/8/9/2/9/89297946/pros_cons_for_ausd_measure_a-league_of_women_voters_of_alameda.pdf

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) teachers and staff are among the lowest paid in the county. Many teachers need a second job to support themselves and their families. Every year AUSD loses nearly 20% of its teachers and staff to other school districts largely due to low pay and fewer benefits. According to California Teachers Association’s 2016-17 numbers, AUSD teachers ranked second lowest among districts with an average annual compensation of $78,634, which is 9.7 percent below the county average of $88,851. In 2018, the District reduced its budget by $3.5 million, cutting programs and services and laying off teachers to give employees a 4.5% raise.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

DONNA R. ZIEGLER County Counsel

Measure A (“Measure”), an Alameda Unified School District (“District”) special parcel tax measure, seeks voter approval to authorize the District to levy an annual special parcel tax of $0.265 per building area square foot (capped at $7,999 per parcel) and $299 per vacant parcel. The tax would last for seven years commencing on July 1, 2020.

The Measure defines a parcel of taxable real property as any unit of real property that receives a separate tax bill for property taxes from the County Treasurer-Tax Collector. “Building” is any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls designed for the shelter or housing of any person or property, and a “vacant parcel” is one on which no building exists.

If approved, the District will use the revenue for the specific purposes of attracting, recruiting, and retaining teachers and school employees, such as counselors, as set forth in the full text of the Measure printed in this sample ballot. 9.5% of the net revenue will support District students of charter schools in existence upon the approval of this Measure and physically located in the City of Alameda.

Upon application to the District, an exemption from the special parcel tax may be granted (a) to any parcel owned by one or more persons 65 years of age or older; (b) to any parcel owned by one or more persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age; or (c) to any parcel owned by one or more persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, whose yearly income does not exceed 250% of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines. The parcel must be the owner’s principal place of residence for each exemption. Owners must submit applications to the District under the procedures established by the District.

The Measure imposes certain accountability provisions, such as depositing the proceeds in a separate account. The Measure also establishes an oversight committee to review annually the District’s compliance with the Measure. The District will also provide at least three revenue and expenditure reports of the proceeds each fiscal year, one of which will display the revenues generated by the Measure, the expenditures of the revenues, and a report on the status of projects funded by the revenues.

A school district has the authority to levy special taxes upon approval by two-thirds of the votes cast on the special tax proposal. (See Cal. Const. Art. XIII A, § 4; Art. XIII C, §2; Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 50075-50077, 50079, & 53722.) If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this Measure do not vote for approval, it will fail, and the District will not be authorized to levy the special parcel tax.

 

This Measure is placed on the ballot by the governing board of the District.

Financial effect

https://www.lwvalameda.org/uploads/8/9/2/9/89297946/pros_cons_for_ausd_measure_a-league_of_women_voters_of_alameda.pdf

This Measure is estimated to raise $10,500,000 in annual local funding for AUSD schools. Funds will be deposited into a separate account and the District will provide three reports to the Board of Education and the public each year. Additionally, a new District Oversight Committee will review annually the District’s compliance with the terms of the Measure. The following will be deducted from the funds raised by the Tax: cost of the Parcel Tax election, authorized charges by the county or city related to the tax, payment of fees and expenses to administer or defend the District’s Tax, and costs to implement accountability provisions.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Vote Yes on Measure A to attract and retain the best teachers in Alameda Unified School District schools so that local students can continue to succeed.

Great teachers are essential to the strength of local schools, and our strong local schools make Alameda a great place to live.

Yet Alameda's teachers are the second-lowest paid in the entire County; that threatens the quality of education offered in local schools. Here's the reality:

  • Alameda loses approximately 20% of its teachers every year to other school districts because our neighbors offer higher pay and stronger benefits.

  • Many teachers have to take on second or even third jobs to support their families.

  • Less than half of Alameda's teachers can afford to live here, with many commuting long hours every day.

Measure A helps address this problem so teachers can focus on their most important job: providing local students with a quality education. The revenue from Measure A will exclusively be used to, support teachers and other school employees and cannot be used for any other purpose.

Yes on A — Keep Alameda Teachers in Alameda Classrooms Supporting Alameda Students

  • Attract and retain excellent teachers and employees

  • Sustain strong instruction in reading, writing, math, arts and sciences

  • Support teachers and counselors in keeping struggling students on the right track

  • Make teachers' and employees' salaries and benefits competitive with neighboring districts

  • Support music and arts teachers and staff

  • Help teachers and counselors prepare students for 21st century jobs and careers

Strict Fiscal Accountability Is Required

  • Funds will exclusively support teachers and other educational employees and cannot be used for any other purpose

  • Annual audits and independent citizen oversight are required

  • No money can be taken away by the State

 

Local students deserve great teachers. Vote Yes on A.

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

Findings

Great teachers and excellent schools are a part of what makes Alameda a great place to live. At AUSD, we believe that supporting our local employees and schools helps keep our community strong.

Supporting all Alameda students and maintaining high performing schools is a priority for our community, but in order to keep our schools strong, we need to continue attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers that provide exceptional support to our students.

Alameda's Teachers and Staff Among the Lowest Paid in Alameda County

Currently, AUSD teachers and staff are among the lowest paid in the county. Many of our employees have to take on second or even third jobs to support themselves and their families. Less than half can afford to live on the Island, often commuting from faraway communities each day. That's compared to nearly 80% who lived in Alameda less than 10 years ago. The reality is that, every year, AUSD loses nearly 20% of its teachers and staff to other school districts, largely because our neighbors offer higher compensation and stronger benefits. This hurts the quality and consistency of the instruction provided to local students.

Purposes

Locally Controlled Funding Dedicated to Teachers and School Employees 

A dedicated parcel tax will allow the District to better provide teachers and staff with competitive salaries and benefits to keep them in Alameda classrooms supporting local students.

Specifically, Available Revenues could be used to:

  • Retain and attract excellent teachers and school employees through increased salaries and benefits

  • Provide high-quality teachers needed for strong instruction in core academic programs like reading, writing, math, arts and sciences

  • Support teachers and counselors in keeping struggling students on the right track

  • Reduce turnover among teachers and staff, which helps build instructional depth, continuity and consistency

  • Recruit top talent in hard-to-find subject areas, such as special education and mathematics

  • Help teachers and counselors prepare students for 21st-century jobs and careers

Alameda Charter Students

9.5% of the Available Revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to supporting Alameda students in public charter schools physically located in Alameda which are in existence at the approval of this Measure. This revenue shall be annually distributed to existing charter schools in proportion to each charter's enrollment of Alameda resident students and shall be used solely for salary and benefit increases for employees.

"Available Revenues" is defined as net money remaining after the deduction of the Measure's revenues to pay for the following: the cost of the parcel tax election, authorized charges by the county or city related to the tax, payment of necessary fees and expenses to administer or defend the District's parcel tax, and costs to implement accountability provisions to ensure fiscal transparency through public information, translation services for the District families, and support of the Oversight Committee.

Mandatory Fiscal Accountability and Taxpayer Protections

  • The revenue from this measure could only be used to pay teachers and other school district employees and could not be used for any other purpose

  • Annual audits and independent citizen oversight would be required

  • No money could be taken away by the State

Amount and Basis of Tax

Upon approval of two-thirds of those voting on this Measure, the District shall be authorized to levy an annual qualified special tax (education parcel tax) on all Parcels of Taxable Real Property, commencing on July 1, 2020 for a period of 7 years. The tax shall be levied on improved parcels at the rate of $0.265 per building square foot not to exceed $7,999 per parcel and at the rate of $299 per vacant parcel.

This qualified special tax is estimated to raise $10.5 million in annual local funding for District schools. The amount of annual local funding raised by this special tax will vary from year to year due to changes in the number of parcels exempt from the levy and the amount of building square footage on parcels.

For purposes of the tax levy, the following definitions shall apply:

 

"Parcel of Taxable Real Property" is defined as any unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for property taxes from the County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office. All public property that is otherwise exempt from or upon which no ad valorem property taxes are levied in any year shall also be exempt from the special tax in such year.

"Building" is defined as any structure having a roof supported by columns or by walls and designed for the shelter or housing of any person or property of any kind. The word "building" includes the word "structure" and encompasses, without limitation, all residential, commercial, and industrial structures.

"Improved parcel" is defined as a parcel on which exists any building.
"Vacant parcel" is defined as a parcel on which no building exists.

The District annually shall provide the Alameda County Tax Collector a report indicating the parcel number and amount of tax for each Parcel of Taxable Real Property.

Claim /Exemption Procedures

Upon application, an exemption may be granted on any Parcel of Taxable Real Property which is (a) owned by one or more persons aged 65 years or older and (b) which is the owner's principal place of residence ("Senior Citizen Exemption"). Upon application, an exemption may be granted on any Parcel of Taxable Real Property which is (a) owned by one or more persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age, and (b) which is the owner's principal place of residence ("SSI Exemption"). Upon application, an exemption may be granted on any Parcel of Taxable Real Property which is (a) owned by one or more persons 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 and (b) which is the owner's principal place of residence ("SSDI Exemption").

With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the Alameda County Tax Assessor or other appropriate County tax official shall make all final determinations of tax exemption or relief for any reason, and that decision shall be final and binding.

With respect to matters specific to the levy of the special tax, including the Senior Citizen, SSI, and SSDI Exemptions, owners must submit applications to the District in the manner and at the time set forth in procedures established by the District. Application forms shall be available from the Office of the Chief Business Officer. Any one application from a qualified applicant for an exemption will provide an exemption for the parcel for that assessment year only.

Owners shall not be required to submit an additional application for exemption provided the property was exempt in the immediately previous assessment year. On an annual basis, the District will review existing exemptions and, if necessary, confirm with the property owner that the parcel still qualifies for the exemption.

 

In determining the building square footage of Taxable Real Property, the District shall refer to the data reported by the County Assessor's Office, except in cases of demonstrable error, in which case either the property owner may file a claim with the District for re-computation of the tax or the District will re-compute the tax and provide notice to the owner of the recomputation and the right to appeal in accordance with the procedures established by the District.

The decisions of the District regarding exemptions, refunds, reductions, or recomputations shall be final and binding. The procedures described herein, and any additional procedures established by the Board, shall be the exclusive claims procedure for claimants seeking an exemption, refund, reduction, or re-computation of the special tax. Whether any particular claim is to be resolved by the District or by the County shall be determined by the District, in coordination with the County as necessary.

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 special tax.

Accountability Measures

Public Information and Fiscal Transparency: The District shall ensure that information regarding the us9 of funds from this Measure is provided to the public in a timely and transparent manner through frequent communication with the Alameda community, presentation of information to the Oversight Committee, and use of the District website. All financial reports and information regarding the use of these funds shall be translated for District families upon request.

Separate Account: Proceeds of this Measure shall be deposited into an account which is separate and apart from other accounts in the District and applied only to the purposes set forth herein.

Oversight Committee: A District Oversight Committee, composed of parents/guardians, staff members, students, and community members representing a variety of school sites, will be established to be advisory to the District. The Committee shall annually review District compliance with the terms of this Measure. The size, structure, and scope of duties of the Oversight Committee shall be set by the Board.

Financial Oversight: District will provide the Board of Education and the general public updated revenue and expenditure reports of the proceeds of this Measure in at least three reports each fiscal year: a report recommending expenditures for the next fiscal year which shall occur before adoption of the District's annual budget; at least one report concurrently with one or more of the State-required interim reports; and an annual report on the Measure ("Annual Report"). The Annual Report will display the revenues generated by the Measure, the expenditures of the revenues, and a report on the status of projects funded by the revenues.

This report shall be organized to display clearly how the expenditures relate to the purposes of the Measure.

 

Independent Auditor's Report and Audit Committee: District shall provide an annual audit by an independent auditor to determine that funds generated by the Measure have been allocated and expended in compliance with the provisions of the Measure.

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 tax rate be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, all remaining parts of the Measure and/or tax rate shall remain in full force and effect to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Measure A

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Measure A

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

More information

Contact Info

Yes on Measure A
Strong Schools for Alameda
No on Measure A
Not available.
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