What is a parcel tax?
In California, an assessment on each parcel of property – not based on assessed value – that must be approved by two-thirds (66.67%) of the voters in a school district. When proposing parcel tax elections, districts indicate how money will used. Money from parcel tax elections is generally used for educational programs and salaries, not for school construction or renovation, which is normally financed through a general obligation bond measure.
Why a parcel tax?
State and federal funding does not provide enough to provide the high-quality education our community has come to expect. BUSD receives lower funding per student than surrounding districts receive and have some of the lowest paid employees in the county, hurting our ability to attract and retain the best employees.
A parcel tax will provide locally-controlled funding that will fund local priorities and stabilize the district’s budget against the volatility of the state budget.
What will the parcel tax cost?
The parcel tax is 10 cents per square foot of improved property. For example, a 1,700 square foot house would be assessed $170 per year, or approximately $14 per month, or 47 cents a day.
This is less than a Netflix premium subscription per month or seven cups of coffee at Starbucks.
To find the taxable square footage of your property, CLICK HERE.
Why is there another parcel tax on the ballot? Didn’t QS pass?
In California, parcel taxes require 2/3rds or 66.67% of the vote to pass. Measure QS missed the threshold by only 938 votes with over 64% of the vote.
Who pays for the parcel tax?
The parcel tax will be assessed on residential and commercial properties. Nonprofits are exempt.
This is a breakdown of the tax distribution:
* Commercial properties — 48% approximately
* Homeowners — 35% approximately
* Apartment building owners — 17% approximately
Is anyone exempt from the parcel tax?
Senior citizens (over 65) can opt-out if they own and live in their property, as well as certain disability recipients. Those seeking exemptions will be required to fill out a one-time application and submit it to the school district office. Sample applications can be viewed below:
I already voted for the sales tax. Why do you need another tax?
In 2018, the voters of Burbank passed Measure P which raised Burbank’s sales tax by ¾ of a percent. All Measure P sales tax revenues go to the City of Burbank and are not shared with the school district, despite multiple requests.
What happens if the measure doesn’t pass?
After the failure of Measure QS, the district was forced to cut over $3.5 million from the budget. If the parcel tax does not pass in March, the district will be forced to evaluate cuts that will impact the quality of instruction. Potential impacts include but are not limited to:
- Increased Class Size
- Elimination of Career and Technical Education Courses (CTE)
- Elimination of Elementary Music Programs
- Elimination of Gifted and Talented Education Program
- Reduction of Secondary Arts Program Funding
- Elimination of Elementary PE Program
- Elimination of Middle School Spanish Program
- Reduction of Technology Supports for Classrooms
How long will the parcel tax last?
The parcel tax will sunset in 12 years unless extended by the voters.
Why should I support a tax when so many students live outside our city?
School districts receive much of their funding from the state through student enrollment and attendance. As school enrollment and attendance decline, so does funding. In order to prevent funding cuts, districts are allowed to issue permits to students who live outside the district’s boundaries.
The Burbank Unified School District currently issues permits to students who live outside the city boundaries only if a parent or guardian works in the city of Burbank. In the 2019-2020 school year, the district has issued 1,357 permits to students of all grade levels. If the district did not issue permits the district would lose roughly $12,833,149 in revenue, which equates to 8% of the entire district budget.
What happened to the lottery money?
The district does receive annual funding from the lottery. The amount of lottery funding the district receives varies from year to year. In the 2018 – 2019 school year, the district received $3,596,665.38 in restricted and unrestricted lottery funding. The lottery funds are currently earmarked for future textbook adoptions.
Lottery money constitutes only 2% of the entire district budget and is not a sufficient or consistent source of funding for programmatic needs.
What accountability measures will ensure the money is spent properly?
The Quality Teachers, Staff, and Schools Measure has built-in accountability measures to ensure transparency:
- The measure requires that a citizens committee be formed to ensure that funds are being spent in compliance with the terms and caps set forth in the measure.
- Parcel tax funds will go through annual performance audits and financial audits.
- The Superintendent will produce an annual report on all parcel tax expenditures.
- The measure includes a sunset clause that will automatically end the tax in 12 years unless extended by the voters.
Is it true that the parcel tax is all going to employee salaries?
No, that is not true. The Quality Teachers, Staff, and Schools Measure designates and caps expenditures as described below:
- Attract and Retain Quality Teachers and Staff (42-47%)
- Maintain Low Class Sizes (2-7%)
- Maintain and Expand Career and College Courses, Art, Music, Science and Innovative Programs (38-42%)
- Maintain and Increase Safety and Wellness Supports (9-13%)
All parcel tax expenditures will be overseen by an independent citizen’s committee and annual audits.
What has the district done to reduce spending?
The district has already cut $3.5 million in positions and instituted a hiring freeze on all positions which are not tied to a state mandate. The Board of Education has also donated its salary to cover the cost of polling for the parcel tax measure in order to minimize the impacts of election costs on the district and classroom.
Who can I contact with questions?
If you have a question about specific components about the measure or the district’s current financial situation, email Superintendent Matt Hill at MattHill@burbankusd.org. If you have a question about the campaign contact the campaign by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is the school district paying for the campaign?
State law prohibits the district from spending taxpayer dollars on resources supporting or opposing the passage of the parcel tax measure. The district is allowed to spend money to provide neutral information about the measure.
This site and collateral produced by the Committee to Support the Quality Teachers, Staff and Schools Measure 2020 are funded through private donations. All literature produced and paid for by the campaign will have a disclosure statement that can usually be found at the bottom of the flyer.