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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA November 8, 2005 Election
Measure Y
Safe and Healthy Neighborhood Schools Repair and Construction Measure
Los Angeles Unified School District

443,905 / 66.09% Yes votes ...... 227,731 / 33.91% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 28 4:37pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (933/933)
Information shown below: Summary | Official Information | Arguments | Tax Rate Statement | Full Text

To reduce overcrowding and improve learning, shall the Los Angeles Unified School District: continue repair/upgrade of aging/deteriorating classrooms, restrooms; build up-to-date, energy efficient neighborhood schools; early childhood education centers; upgrade fire/earthquake safety, emergency response equipment; purchase library books; upgrade computer technology; eliminate asbestos, lead paint hazards by issuing $3.985 billion in bonds, at legal interest rates; with guaranteed annual financial/performance audits, citizens' oversight, no money for administrators' salaries?

Summary Prepared by League of Women Voters of Los Angeles:
MEASURE Y: "The Safe and Healthy Neighborhood Schools
Repair and Construction Measure of 2005"

Question: Should the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) be authorized to issue up to $3.985 billion in general obligation bonds for new construction, repair and upgrading school facilities?

Background: Since 2000, state law has permitted voters to pass local school bond measures by a vote of 55% instead of 2/3. To qualify for this reduced vote, measures must meet certain criteria:

1. Funds must be used for capital expenses, not operating expenses.

2. An independent oversight committee must be created to protect against misuse of funds.

3. Tax increases resulting from passage of any measure must not exceed $60 per $100,000 of property valuation.

4. The measure must include funds for charter schools, adult education and other programs.

Voters enacted Proposition 47 in November 2002, and Proposition 55 in March 2004, which together authorized $25.35 billion in State bonds to be used to match funds that local school and college districts could generate to construct and renovate school facilities.

To generate necessary local matching funds, voters passed Proposition K in November 2002, authorizing the LAUSD to issue $3.35 billion in general obligation bonds and in March 2004, voters approved Proposition R, a $3.87 billion bond measure.

Since 2002, the District has opened 23 new schools and 15 early education centers, built 39 additions to existing schools, and added 21,353 new classroom seats. By the end of this school year, an additional 38 new schools will open.

Provisions: The district conducted a study of class size, safety, information technology and other needs which resulted in a specific project list which details the work to be done at each individual school and estimates the number of new "seats" that would result. The stated goal is to return students to neighborhood schools and begin the process of returning schools to a nine-month calendar.

In addition to the specific project list, Measure Y summarizes proposed spending as follows:

  • $1.6 billion in new school construction
  • $1.48 billion in school repair
  • $325 million for information technology
  • $240 million in debt refinancing (freeing up money for operational needs)
  • $100 million in early education
  • $90 million for innovation fund (promote alternative education models)
  • $50 million for adult education
  • $50 million for charter schools
  • $25 million to replace all special education buses
  • $10 million to give low performing schools added resources to improve results
  • $10 million for audit and oversight of bond projects
  • $5 million for library books

The measure does not guarantee that all the projects listed will be funded since revenue estimates include the receipt of state matching funds.

Fiscal Impact: Because authorized bonds are not sold all at once, there would be different amounts of bond debt from year to year. The District estimates the average tax rate over the life of the bonds would be about $26.00 per $100,000 of assessed value. The highest tax rate for this measure can not exceed $60 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Arguments For:

1. Measure Y would provide funds to improve unacceptable conditions of overcrowding, of deteriorated structures and of safety hazards in public schools.

2. New seats in neighborhood schools will enable schools to return to a traditional nine-month schedule, eliminating multi-track and year-round schools.

3. The bond money will help reduce the enrollment to 2,000 at all the District's middle schools.

Arguments Against:

1. Adding the tax increase from Measure Y to the taxes from earlier bond measures will result in taxpayers paying many hundreds of dollars per year.

2. Based on its record in handling earlier bond money, the LAUSD should not be given additional bonding authority. More safeguards for taxpayers are needed.

3. Not enough bond money is being allocated for charter schools, adult education and early education centers.

Official Sources of Information
  Official Information

Los Angeles Unified School District
News and Analysis

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Arguments For Measure Y Arguments Against Measure Y
Local teachers, parents, community leaders, firefighters and police urge you to vote Yes on Measure Y. Y stands for Yes! Here's why:

Every year for almost 35 years, the Los Angeles School District grew by 8,000 students but added only 2,000 seats. By the late 1990's our schools were short 200,000 seats. We've seen the results: severe overcrowding, deteriorating school buildings, kids forced to spend hours a day being bused across town just to get an education.

But several years ago, things started turning around. Many critical repairs are being made. New schools are being built. Some students required to attend school on a shortened 163 day calendar are now returning to the full 180 day calendar.

It's a good start, but it's not enough.

We need to finish the job and ensure that every neighborhood gets its fair share of new schools and school repairs.

Measure Y will continue the repair of old schools, removing hazards of lead paint and asbestos, updating fire alarm systems, improving earthquake safety and completing the installation of air conditioning.

Measure Y will build safe, up-to-date, energy-efficient elementary schools and provide a smaller, more personal learning environment for our youngest students.

Measure Y will relieve severe overcrowding that has directly contributed to unrest at some schools. We need more schools, with fewer students, to ensure that our children can learn in a healthy and safe environment.

Measure Y will boost academic achievement by ensuring students have more days per year in the classroom focusing on reading, math and science. This will help increase graduation rates and give our students the skills they need to compete in today's workforce.

That's why Y stands for Yes. Yes on Measure Y!

Yvonne B. Burke, Los Angeles County Supervisor

Stephen E. Franklin, 2004-05 L.A. County Teacher of the Year, 2004-05 LAUSD Teacher of the Year, Sun Valley Middle School

Alexander Rivera, Chair, Parent Community Advisory Council (PCAC)

William R. Bamattre, Fire Chief, City of Los Angeles

Cynthia McClain-Hill, Chair/Immediate Past President, National Association of Women Business Owners – Los Angeles Chapter

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Declining enrollment.

That's right, The Los Angeles Unified School District is expecting a long-term trend of declining enrollment beginning this fiscal year.

The Superintendent's 2005-06 Provisional Budget shows that enrollment will decline by 16,625 students by 2008.

Promoters of another new bond and higher taxes are not mentioning declining enrollment. Instead, they are basing their argument on conditions that existed in the "late 1990's." But they fail to mention that since then, voters have approved three bond measures totaling nearly $10 billion.

The school district has not spent all the money already provided, yet the district is again reaching for taxpayers' wallets. Higher property taxes, higher rents.

The school district is facing declining enrollment, which means that the promoters of another expensive bond are asking taxpayers to pay for more construction and upkeep for schools that may not even be needed.

That's why for taxpayers, Measure Y stands for Yikes!

Read the following argument against Measure Y to learn more about why you should vote NO on Measure Y.

President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Executive Vice President,
Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles

President, United Organization of Taxpayers, Inc.

LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee, Former Member
Higher taxes!

Higher taxes is what Y means. It is the fourth Los Angeles school district bond tax in eight years.

If passed, all these LAUSD bonds could cost the typical homeowner about $540 per year by 2009.

Renters, too, can expect higher rents as landlords pass on their increased tax costs.

Just what are we paying more for?

Los Angeles voters have already generously approved nearly $10 billion in new bonds since 1997. The cost will be 20 billion when interest is added. The school district has not even been able to spend all this money, but already they are asking for more. More taxes, higher rents.

To LAUSD officials, money is no object, as long as the money is provided by property tax payers.

The school district, whose mismanagement is legendary, has made a new headquarters and parking garage for top officials a priority. This priority may cost taxpayers almost a quarter billion dollars. How many classrooms could be built with that money?

Officials clamor that they must build even more schools, yet their own analysis shows a declining LAUSD enrolment beginning this year and into the future.

Now taxpayers are being asked to take on an even larger burden to pay for schools that may not be needed.

Who will really benefit from the new, unnecessary construction? Those who contract to provide services to the LAUSD, that's who. Just look at who is paying for the expensive campaign to convince voters to approve another bond, just 18 months after they approved the last multi-billion dollar bond.

It's time to tell the LAUSD, enough! We have provided enough money for now, and it's time to get the job done. Get on with it!

Vote no on Y!

President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

President, Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association

President, United Organization of Taxpayers, Inc.

LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee, Former Member

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The opponents of Measure Y have the wrong priorities. Investing in the future of our kids is a must for all of us.

We tried it their way. For 30 years we didn’t build or repair a single school in Los Angeles.

How can we expect kids to succeed when they face severe overcrowding in their classrooms, hours riding on the bus to attend school far from home, and unhealthy exposure to lead paint and asbestos. It takes money to repair old schools and build new ones, but it’s far more expensive to do nothing.

The overwhelming majority of Angelenos agree with their local classroom teachers, firefighters, school nurses and police officers by supporting essential investments to fix our schools. Thanks to the common sense and commitment of our citizens, thousands of schoolchildren now have new schools, smaller learning communities, more computers and library books.

But we have to ensure that every child gets his or her fair share. Measure Y will finish the job we started. All of our kids deserve safe and healthy neighborhood schools, especially our youngest students who need our help the most.

Measure Y means YES to eliminate overcrowding.

Measure Y means YES to finish repairing our schools.

Measure Y means YES to safe, healthy neighborhood schools.

Measure Y means YES to tough, independent oversight to ensure that every dollar goes to our kids.

Vote YES on Measure Y. Let’s finish the job of giving all our kids in every neighborhood the schools they deserve.

Ronnie Cato, President, OJB Black Police Officers Foundation

Rusty Hammer, President, LA Area Chamber of Commerce

David L. Crippens, Current Member, Bond Oversight Committee

Rosaura Arroyo, National Board Certified Early Childhood, Dyer Elementary School, Sylmar

Pam Mason, Recipient Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics, State of California Outstanding Mathematics Teacher, Patrick Henry Middle School, Granada Hills

Tax Rate Statement from Superintendent Roy Romer
An election will be held in the Los Angeles Unified School District (the “District”) on November 8, 2005, for the purpose of submitting to the electors of the District the question of incurring bonded indebtedness of the District in the amount of $3,985,000,000. If such bonds are authorized and sold, the principal thereof and the interest thereon will be payable from the proceeds of tax levies made upon the taxable property in the District. The following information regarding tax rates is provided in compliance with Sections 9400-9404 of the Elections Code of California. Such information is based upon the best estimates and projections presently available from official sources, experience within the District or other demonstrable factors.

1. The best estimate of the tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund principal and interest payments on this bond issue during the first year after the sale of the first series of bonds (fiscal year 2006-07), based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of this statement is $0.00574 per $100 ($5.74 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.

2. The best estimate of the tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund principal and interest payments on this bond issue during the first year after the sale of the last series of bonds (fiscal year 2014-15), based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of this statement is $0.05382 per $100 ($53.82 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.

3. The best estimate of the highest tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund principal and interest payments on this bond issue, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of this statement is $0.06000 per $100 ($60.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation which would apply in year 2012-13.

The average tax rate over the repayment period of all of the bonds (2005-06 through 2037-38) is estimated to be $0.02671 per $100 ($26.71 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.

Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information regarding tax rates is based upon District projections and estimates only, which are not binding on the District. The actual tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary from those presently estimated, due to variations from these estimates in timing of the bond sales, the amount of bonds sold at any given sale, market interest rates at the time of each bond sale, and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds.

Full Text of Measure Y
Link to PDF file (65 pages)

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Created: January 28, 2006 14:42 PST
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