- Measure J
Special Tax Measure
-- Lafayette School District
(2/3 Approval Required)
73.13% Yes votes ......
26.87% No votes
- To prevent deep cuts at our elementary and middle schools; preserve small class sizes; attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers, classroom aides, and counselors; provide up-to-date textbooks, instructional materials and classroom technology; and support educational programs that enhance student health and achievement, shall Lafayette School District extend its expiring school parcel tax for seven years at $313.00 per parcel, with an exemption for seniors, adjustment for inflation, and all funds staying local to benefit Lafayette schools?
COUNTY COUNSEL'S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF
SPECIAL TAX MEASURE J
The governing board of the Lafayette School District has
adopted a resolution proposing a qualified special (parcel) tax. The current qualified special tax of $132 per year per parcel of taxable land within the School District will expire June 30, 2008. The ballot measure asks voters to decide whether to extend the qualified special tax. If this measure is approved, the amount of the tax in the first year will be $313 per taxable parcel of land within the School District,and will increase annually by three (3) percent per year. The qualified special tax will be levied and collected each year for a period of seven years, beginning July 1, 2008, if this measure is approved.
An exemption from the qualified special tax will be available forparcels owned and occupied by persons 65 years of age or older pursuant to procedures to be prescribed by the governing board of the School District or otherwise as required by law or by the County Tax
The ballot measure states that the proceeds of the qualifiedspecial tax will be used to prevent deep cuts at elementary and middleschools; preserve small class sizes; attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers, classroom aides, and counselors; provide up-todate
textbooks, instructional materials and classroom technology; andsupport educational programs that enhance student health andachievement. Proceeds from the qualified special tax may only be usedfor the purposes set forth in the ballot measure and according to otherconstitutional and statutory provisions.
Two-thirds of those voting on the ballot measure must approve the measure in order for it to pass.
A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of authorizing the
qualified special tax.
A "no" vote is a vote against authorizing the qualified special tax.
The above statement is an impartial analysis of Special Tax Measure J. If you desire a copy of the full text, please call the District Secretary's office at (925) 284-7011 and a copy will be mailed to you at no cost.
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF SPECIAL TAX MEASURE J
In 1992 local voters approved a parcel tax that has provided stable, locally controlled funding for Lafayette elementary and middle schools. This essential funding supports the outstanding core academic programsthat make Lafayette schools among the best in the State. Without
approval of Measure J, this funding will expire next year.
Funding for our schools is declining and the cost of maintaining programs increasing. In fact, Lafayette School District is facing a deficit of $700,000 next year. Without Measure J, Lafayette schools will lose an
additional $1.27 million per year and will be forced to make significant cuts to educational programs. Measure J will extend the expiring parcel tax for 7 years and adjust it to $313 per parcel. (Moraga's parcel tax is $325 and Orinda's is $385) A built-in cost of living adjustment will ensure that funding keeps pace with inflation. Lafayette homeowners age 65 and over are eligible for an
Specifically, Measure J funds will:
Mary Mc Cosker
Ed Stokes, Community Volunteer
Michelle M. Chan
Robert L. Gonser, President, RAPPORT, Lafayette Happy Valley Elementary ALUM & Education Leadership Group Local Attorney
Richard W. Holt, Local Realtor
- Preserve small class sizes
- Attract and retain qualified teachers and instructional aides
- Maintain science, reading and technology specialists
- Provide up-to-date textbooks and instructional materials
- Maintain updated technology in the classroom
- Support critical educational programs that enhance student achievement.
Every penny goes directly to classroom instruction. No funds fromMeasure J may be used for administration. Mandatory annual audits will ensure that the money is spent properly. All funds from Measure J will remain in Lafayette to benefit our elementary and middle schools. No funds can be taken away by the State or other school districts. Good schools help keep our property values high and maintain the quality of life in our community.
Help prevent deep cuts to Lafayette schools. Please join Lafayette parents, teachers, principals, senior citizens, business and civicleaders in voting YES on Measure J.
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF
SPECIAL TAX MEASURE J
1992's parcel tax? $84. 1999's? $132, up 57%. Now, Lafayette School
District's (LSD's) tax promoters want to "adjust it to $313" -- 2.37 times their current assessment (a 137% INCREASE), though enrollment has dropped 11% since 1999!
Compounding its annual increases, Measure J's 7th year collectsalmost $374! Meanwhile:
Robert L. Golden, Business Owner Construction Engineer, Retired;Board Member, Lafayette Taxpayers Association
Irene G. Marracci
Gordon Mattonen, Homemaker Software Developer, Retired;
Member, Lafayette Taxpayers Association
James C. Burns, Water-Treatment Chemist, Retired;
Board Member, Lafayette Taxpayers Association
- LSD and the $36,800 outside consultants who shaped their
arguments showed a $62 parcel-tax increase as meeting
2008-09's unrestricted structural deficit. Instead, they've
made Measure J a what-can-we-get-away-with proposition.
- Observant taxpayers realize that spendthrift public agencies play leapfrog: "other districts extract X dollars, so let's inflate our take, too." Then others demand more.... Spending spins out of control.
- LSD's 2007-08 General Fund alone, including a $3 Million
ending balance, already averages $9326 per student --
$186,500 per 20-student classroom! LSD's total budget
exceeds $40 Million ($12,729/student)!
- As California's Legislative Analyst noted, class-size reduction (CSR) -- among the state's "most costly categorical programs" -- shows "inconclusive" results. Disadvantaged K-3 students (not ours) may benefit slightly; but LSD's parcel taxes fund grade 4-8 CSR.
- Measure J doesn't guarantee improved academic
performance, property values, or quality of life. It does
guarantee $2398 in cumulative new per-parcel taxes.
Measure J would mostly benefit Lafayette's teacher unionists (who'd get retroactive raises atop existing step increases), not schoolkids or taxpayers. Senior-exemption applications may become public records. And fair-minded seniors recognize the inequity in supporting new taxes they
needn't pay themselves.
Please join us in voting "NO" on Measure J!
ARGUMENT AGAINST SPECIAL TAX MEASURE J
The Lafayette Taxpayers Association (LTA) opposes Measure J's $313parcel tax. Income and FICA taxes alone already consume one-third to onehalf of next dollars earned by many local families (before even considering sales taxes, property taxes, gasoline taxes...). So tax dollars we already
supply must provide needed public-agency services more efficiently:
Lafayette Taxpayers Association
Donald Lively, Spokesman Former Mayor,
Lafayette Citizens Against Regulatory Excesses
Louis T. Marracci, Secretary Board Member
Lafayette Taxpayers Association
Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers
Kenneth Hambrick, Chair
- The District passed a $132 parcel tax in 1999. Since then,enrollment has dropped 11%. But now, they want a $313 new parcel tax -- a 137% increase. That's far too much!
- It's $313 just in this new tax's first year. That figure rises by 3% annually -- compounded! By year seven, it's nearly $374.
- We're also paying a $189 parcel tax for the Acalanes Union High School District. That tax expires in four years, so they'll also return soon to the ballot for more money.
- A universal "senior opt-out" provision is unwarranted in this affluent community. A realistically defined "means-tested opt out," recommended by the previous Superintendent, is omitted in Measure J.
- Parcel taxes are highly regressive, requiring the same amount for a 1000 ft2 bungalow as for 5000 ft2 mansions.
This District and others must respond to fewer students and
proportionate state-funding with responsible, practical measures like those employed by private enterprises when faced with slowdowns in revenue or market demand -- e.g.,
- Improved workforce/staff utilization and productivity;
- Competitive contracting or outsourcing of non-certificated, nonteaching
We recognize the importance of good schools, and commend the efforts of Lafayette's best educators. But we also recognize that schools are just one part of a state-wide public-sector spending problem + one in which every tax-supported element of government must begin to limit its
annual spending increases to at most the combined rates of inflation and served-population growth.
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST SPECIAL TAX MEASURE J
A No vote on Measure J will be devastating to Lafayette schools.
Here are the facts:
FACT: State funding for Lafayette schools ranks 16th lowest of the 18 school districts in Contra Costa County. Only 14.5 cents of your property tax dollar goes to our schools. Lafayette schools are already among the
most lean and efficient.
FACT: As student enrollment has declined, so has state funding. The loss of funding substantially exceeds the cost reduction from fewer students. Our schools face a $700,000 deficit. Measure J will make our schools less dependent on the State.
FACT: Lafayette's parcel tax + which our schools have relied on since 1992 - expires next year. Without renewal, our schools will lose $1.27 million per year. Such a severe funding reduction would result in increased class sizes, teacher layoffs, reductions in textbooks and
FACT: Measure J adjusts the existing parcel tax for inflation and the cost of maintaining core programs. This assessment has not been increased since 1999. By law, parcel taxes are the only means for school districts
to generate local funding for instruction.
FACT: Measure J includes an optional senior exemption to ensure it is not a burden for seniors on a fixed income.
FACT: Many families want to move to Lafayette so their children can attend our outstanding schools, increasing demand for our homes and protecting our property values.
We all benefit from living in one of the best school districts in the State.
Please vote Yes on J.
Susan M. Graves
Chuck Stuart, Former BVE PTA Pres.
Lafayette Businessman Erling L. Horn
Toni Mc Shane, Former Mayor, City of Lafayette Asst. Principal Stanley Middle School
Marechal N. Duncan, Longtime Resident and Volunteer