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Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA May 3, 2011 Election
Measure B
Parcel Tax Measure
Lafayette School District

Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

To protect the quality of schools in Lafayette by reducing deep cuts in programs due to the State budget crisis, to maintain core academic programs in math, science, art and music, attract and retain the best qualified teachers, and maintain classroom technology and science labs, shall the Lafayette School District levy an emergency tax of $176 per parcel for four years only, with exemptions for seniors and all funds staying in Lafayette to benefit our schools?

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel
The Governing Board of the Lafayette School District has adopted a resolution proposing a parcel tax (a qualified special tax).

This ballot measure asks voters to decide whether a parcel tax should be imposed on parcels of taxable real property within the District for four years, beginning July 1, 2011. The proposed tax would expire June 30, 2015. The parcel tax would be $176 per year on each parcel of taxable real property in the District.

A parcel of taxable real property is any unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for property taxes from the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office. A parcel otherwise exempt from property taxes will also be exempt from the imposition of the parcel tax.

The ballot measure includes a senior citizen exemption. Any parcel owned and occupied as a principal residence by a person 65 years of age or older would be exempt from the parcel tax upon proper application to the District.

The ballot measure states that the proceeds of the parcel tax will be used to "maintain core academic programs in math, science, art and music, attract and retain the best qualified teachers, and maintain classroom technology and science labs." Proceeds from the parcel tax may be used only for the specific purposes set forth in the ballot measure and according to constitutional and statutory provisions.

State law requires the District's chief fiscal officer to file an annual report with the District Board that states the amount of funds received and expended in the year and the status of any projects required or authorized to be funded from the tax proceeds. State law also requires the proceeds from the parcel tax be deposited into a designated account.
Two-thirds of those voting on the ballot measure must approve the measure for it to pass.

A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of authorizing the parcel tax.

A "no" vote is a vote against authorizing the parcel tax.

  Lafayette School District

Lafayette School District
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Arguments For Measure B Arguments Against Measure B
Our Lafayette schools, among the best in California, are threatened by the continuing state budget crisis. Lafayette student test scores are in the top 10% of the state due to Lafayette's exceptional teachers, rigorous, enriching programs and support from community and parents.

Over the last three years the Lafayette School District has cut $2 million in programs, and is now facing a structural deficit of $2.2M. Due solely to the cutbacks in state funding, cuts of this magnitude threaten the district's ability to provide the excellent education the community expects.

Measure B was placed on the ballot as a temporary measure to offset part of the state cutbacks. While it will not prevent all the cuts in our local schools, it will limit the most devastating cuts. Measure B funds cannot be taken away by the State or be used for other purposes.

Measure B will provide temporary emergency funding to preserve:
- Core academic programs in math, science and technology;
- Funding for art and music programs;
- The ability to attract and retain the most qualified teachers;
- Classroom computers, technology and science labs;
- Early academic intervention programs.

Measure B lasts for four years only and costs $176 per parcel + less than 50 per day. An exemption for senior citizens will continue to ensure the cost is not a burden to those on fixed incomes.

Every penny goes directly to classroom instruction. No funds from Measure B may be used for administrative salaries. Mandatory annual audits will ensure that funds are spent properly.

All funds raised from Measure B will remain local to benefit our elementary and middle schools.

Good schools help protect property values, and maintain the quality of life in our community. Measure B is essential to maintaining the quality of our outstanding local schools.

Please vote YES.

Dana Green, Realtor and Parent

Budd E. MacKenzie, Attorney, Small Business Owner and 21 Year Resident

Ed Stokes, Owner, Diablo Foods and 41 year Resident

Toni McShane, Assistant Principal, Stanley Middle School, 37 Year Educator

Mary McCosker Civic Leader and 55 Year Resident

Rebuttal to Arguments For

  • The $2.2 Million "structural deficit" cited by Measure B proponents is based on assumptions about state cuts, not facts.

  • Property owners are suffering the worst economic downturn in generations - plus precipitously lower income, home values and increased taxes at all levels. With 9 existing school property taxes (totaling $1,579 for $1Million assessed home) we don't need a 4th new school tax in 4 years.

  • As enrollment declines continue, our Lafayette Elementary School District should right-size their administration, payroll, and costs. Promised staff reductions of under 4% hardly match painful sacrifices in the private sector or among families.

  • Proponents claim this tax will be only used for specified purposes. However, this allows funds previously allocated for critical programs to be redirected without transparency or accountability, adding annual overhead for audits and oversight.

  • The consultant-driven District strategically selected a special May mail-in election, only weeks before the June general election, thereby guaranteeing the lowest voter turnout yet highest election costs to Taxpayers. All this, following a calculated fear campaign again threatening draconian cuts and promising exemptions to seniors regardless of need.

  • Measure B pretends to be a "temporary tax," however Lafayette has yet to see a school tax expire; they only increase, like the 2008 elementary school tax at 237% of the prior expiring tax.

  • Finally, voters approved another $313 Lafayette Elementary School District parcel tax ($332 now) only three years ago. Now the District wants even more. Enough is enough. Vote No on Measure B.

Learn more:

William D. Whiteman, Attorney at Law

Nancy Woodfield

Lawrence M. Pines, Attorney at Law

W. Gordon Mattonen

Arthur W. Ronat

Our public schools are among the best in the Bay Area and deserving of our community's support. This is evidenced by the fact that Lafayette voters have passed, and property owners are now paying 9 (nine) separate school taxes, with three of the largest ones passed in the last 3 years.


  • Measure B, if it passes, will be our 10th school tax. It is untimely, grossly unfair and inequitable.

  • Measure B proponents now want a 53% increase in the existing Elementary School parcel tax level + a 285% increase since only 2008 -- at a time when many beleaguered homeowners have suffered the largest losses in their home values in California history and when their incomes, savings, and budgets have been significantly diminished.

  • Measure B cites possible revenue reduction to our schools due to the "State budget crisis," yet revenue per student has not decreased + a fact admitted by Proponents and our School Superintendent.

  • Continuing a recent disturbing trend, this tax would give an aged-based exemption to all seniors, even wealthy ones. If anyone is too financially disadvantaged to support our public schools, the exemption should be available, but certainly not be based solely on their age.

  • This tax also disproportionately impacts modest single family homeowners struggling to make payments because it imposes the same tax on large multi-unit apartment buildings, home to families with school-aged children, that will not have to pay their share. Other Districts have presented parcel taxes with levies that distinguish proportionately between small homes and 75-unit apartment buildings, shopping centers, or large hotels. Measure B does not.

Measure B, the 10th school tax on our tax bills, is ill-timed, insufficiently justified, discriminatory, and unfairly structured. Vote No on Measure B.

Lafayette Taxpayers Association Donald E. Lively, Executive Director

Lafayette Taxpayers Association Carl R. Piercy, Member

Lafayette Taxpayers Association Lou Marracci, Member

Robert J. Lavoie, CPA

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The opponents of Measure B deliberately mislead voters by distorting the facts.

Lafayette School District has ONE parcel tax not ten. Measure B is a temporary measure to allow the district to continue to offer quality programs that our community expects.

Due to reductions in state funding our school district is facing severe cutbacks. Lafayette School District has already reduced our budget by $2.0 Million, and now must cut another $2.2 Million.

Make no mistake, Measure B won't solve all the problems created by the State budget crisis, but it will help limit the most devastating cuts to classrooms and instruction. Without Measure B our schools will decrease instructional time, eliminate teaching positions and increase class sizes.

Without Measure B, essential programs in reading, math, music, art, and science and technology programs that prepare our students to succeed in college and the workplace will be affected.

Our schools are among the finest in the state. Studies have shown that the number one factor in maintaining property values is the quality of local schools. Measure B is the only legal means our school district can use to generate stable, local funding.

No funds from Measure B can be spent on administrator's salaries.

To lesson the burden on senior citizens on fixed incomes, Measure B includes an optional exemption for senior citizens, as does the existing measure.

All Measure B funds will stay in our community to benefit our local children. No money can be taken by the state or used for other purposes.

Please VOTE YES on Measure B.

Marechal Duncan, Community Volunteer and 55 Year Pesident

Colleen A. McCormick, Owner, Small Business/Lamorinda Music; Parent

Susan Rothenberg, Realtor; 20 Year Resident

Caesar Perales, CPA and 24 Year Resident

Roger W. Falcone, Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley

Full Text of Measure B


This emergency measure provides the additional funding required to protect and maintain a quality educational program in the Lafayette School District. For several years the State Legislature has not fully-funded the District to provide a quality educational program, and meet the high expectations of the community, and the District is committed to eliminating all deficit spending and to maintaining a balanced budget. Having exhausted all feasible means of generating funds to finance basic programs, including the current parcel tax and donations from the Lafayette Partners in Education Foundation, PTAs and Parent Clubs, the District may now be forced to further reduce basic educational services.

The District's projected revenue for the foreseeable future is inadequate and without a new source of revenue, the District must eliminate and reduce educational programs. Therefore, the District's Governing Board believes that an emergency qualified special tax measure is necessary to maintain quality education for the students of the District.


To protect the quality of schools in Lafayette by reducing deep cuts in programs due to the State budget crisis, to maintain core academic programs in math, science, art and music, attract and retain the best qualified teachers, and maintain classroom technology and science labs, shall the Lafayette School District levy an emergency tax of $176 per parcel for four years only, with exemptions for seniors and all funds staying in Lafayette to benefit our schools?

The District intends to use funds collected pursuant to this measure to help finance all of the programs listed above, unless the District Governing Board determines in any given year that changes in student population, fiscal constraints, or other changes in state or federal funding make doing so infeasible or inadvisable.

The special tax will be in effect for a period of four (4) years, beginning July 1, 2011, at the rate shown below, on each assessor's parcel located wholly or partly within the District.


The special tax shall be levied on all parcels of property in the Lafayette School District, except parcels that are otherwise exempt from taxation. The emergency tax shall be levied at the rate of One Hundred Seventy Six Dollars ($176.00) per parcel on all residential, commercial, industrial and institutional parcels, whether such parcels are improved or unimproved.

Parcels shall be determined according to the records of the City of Lafayette. Currently, the law provides that the following parcel categories (listed by Contra Costa County Assessor's Parcel Identification Code and parcel description) are to be exempt from this special tax:

Code 10 + Vacant unbuildable
Code 70 + Convalescent hospitals and rest homes
Code 71 + Churches
Code 72 + Schools
Code 74 + Cemeteries
Code 75 + Fraternal and service organizations
Code 76 + Retirement housing complex
Code 77 + Cultural uses (libraries)
Code 78 + Parks and playgrounds
Code 79 + Government owned parcels
Code 80 + Mineral Rights
Code 81 + Private roads
Code 87 + Common area parcels (in PUDs)

Any parcel owned by a person 65 years of age or older and occupied as that person's principal residence shall be exempt from this special tax upon application to the District. The exemption shall be available pursuant to procedures to be prescribed by the Governing Board of the Lafayette School District or otherwise as required by law or by the Contra Costa County Tax Collector.


In accordance with the requirements of California Government Code sections 50075.1and 50075.3, the following accountability measures, among others, shall apply to the special taxes levied in accordance with this Measure:

(a) Proceeds of this special tax shall be deposited into a Fund which shall be kept separate and apart from other Funds in the District and shall be applied only as set forth in this Measure.

(b) An Annual Report, including the revenues generated by this special tax and the expenditures of these monies and the status of any projects funded by these monies, shall be filed by the chief fiscal officer of the District with the Governing Board no later than January 1 of the year following the fiscal year during which the monies were expended.

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Created: August 25, 2011 19:49 PDT
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