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Quality Teacher and Academic Instruction Preservation Measure
Cotati/Rohnert Park Unified School District
Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required
Pass: 6,929 / 66.9% Yes votes ...... 3,430 / 33.1% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Results as of Jul 12 3:14pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (24/24)|
|Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
To protect quality education with local funding that cannot be taken by the State, shall Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District preserve reading/writing/math/science programs; keep school libraries open/available for students; protect art/music/vocational instruction; and attract/retain qualified teachers, by levying $89 per parcel annually for five years, with exemptions for senior citizens, independent citizen oversight, no money for administrators' salaries, and all funds staying local?
The District is proposing to levy a special tax of $89 per year on each parcel of taxable real property in the District, commencing on July 1, 2012. The tax would be levied for no more than five years.
Proceeds of the tax would be placed in a special fund and could only be used for the purposes set out in the measure, which include preserving reading, writing, math, and science programs; keeping school libraries open and information technology services available for students; attracting and retaining qualified and experienced teachers and staff; protecting art and music instruction; providing vocational education to prepare graduates for competitive jobs in the 21st century; and minimizing class size increases. No portion of the tax will be spent on administrative salaries.
Each year that tax funds remain unspent, the District's chief financial auditor will prepare and present a report to the Board of Trustees stating (1) the amount of funds received and expended during the prior year, and (2) the status of any projects or description of any programs funded by the tax. The report must be filed by December 31 of each year. The period covered by the report may be a fiscal or calendar year, or other appropriate annual period, as determined by the Superintendent.
The tax would be applied to each unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for property taxes. Multiple parcels that are contiguous and are part of one economic unit under the same name and ownership and that do not receive separate tax bills would be charged as one parcel. Parcels which are exempt from property tax, or on which no property tax is otherwise levied, are also exempt from this tax. The measure also exempts from the tax parcels owned or partially owned and occupied by a person who is 65 years of age or older, or any parcel owned by one or more persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age. Persons claiming exemptions based on ownership by a senior citizen or by someone receiving Supplemental Security Income would need to apply to the District for this exemption under procedures and within timeframes that the District will establish.
If two-thirds of the voters in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District who vote on this measure vote "yes," the measure will pass and the special tax will be levied. The tax would be collected in the same manner as regular property taxes.
BRUCE D. GOLDSTEIN County Counsel By: s/ Kathleen Larocque Deputy County Counsel
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|Arguments For Measure D||Arguments Against Measure D|
|Measure D will provide stable locally-controlled funding to protect our schools that Sacramento cannot take away. Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District is on the right track and improving student achievement. A Yes Vote on Measure D will help preserve quality education in our schools and ensure our students are prepared for college and 21st-century careers.
In the past four years, the State has cut $8.4 million (more than 27%) of funding for our local schools and additional state funding cuts are expected. The District has made every effort to keep state cuts as far away from the classroom as possible by reducing administration, salaries and benefits. Unfortunately, teachers have been laid off and schools have been closed. We must avoid further cuts to the core instructional programs that directly impact student learning.
Every penny must stay in local classrooms and no funds can be taken by the State or other school districts. Independent citizen oversight and annual audits will hold the school district accountable and ensure that funds are spent as authorized. By law, Measure D funds can only be used to: preserve quality reading, writing, math and science programs; keep school libraries open and available for students; protect art, music and vocational education programs; and retain and attract qualified teachers.
No Measure D funds may be used for administration. All funds will be used to support student achievement and core academic programs. Senior citizen homeowners, aged 65 or older, are eligible for an exemption.
Measure D will not prevent all the cuts, just the most devastating cuts that directly impact our students. Measure D will ensure students receive the quality education they
need to go to college and compete for good jobs. Please join community members, parents and business leaders and Vote Yes on D for Cotati and RohnertPark children.
ROHNERT PARK COTATI EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION
Loopholes allow the withholding of those funds by the state in exchange for false promises of repayment. Repayment that never comes. So before you authorize the levy of yet more taxes, ask yourself what happened to all that money?
By and large it has been used to pay for ever increasing and unsustainable public employee pensions. While politicians in Sacramento give lip-service to the need for pension reform, no meaningful reform will ever occur so long as we are willing to tax ourselves more and more to pay for the services we've already paid for.
While the monies raised by Measure D may improve classroom conditions for our children in the short run, the real tragedy is that the long-term costs of Measure D effectively doom future generations to a world void of libraries, parks, hospitals and schools as these traditional government services are sacrificed to pay for bloated public employee pensions. For the sake of our children, we encourage you to look beyond the short-term benefits of this measure and look at the long-term costs.
Vote no on D.
SONOMA COUNTY TAXPAYERS' ASSOCIATION
|No one can argue that the state of our school budgets is abysmal. State budget cuts to local schools totaling $8.4 million over four years have required expenses be cut. And it is of course our children and grandchildren who bear the brunt of these cuts. So it is certainly understandable that school administrators should seek additional revenues to offset further cuts. We understand that.
But what these well-intentioned administrators fail to acknowledge is that school cuts are but a symptom of a much larger problem. Sacramento is awash in red ink. Schools funding has been cut as Sacramento pours more and more money into unsustainable and exploding public employee pension costs. Depending whose numbers you believe, the state has a $300 to $500 billion unfunded public employee pension shortfall. The real problem is that public employee unions are huge contributors to the campaigns of state and local elected officials, who in turn are loathe to enact any meaningful reform to the public employee pension system that provides such generous benefits. Schools and other government services must be sacrificed to keep these pensions afloat.
The sad reality is that legislators in Sacramento will never undertake meaningful pension reform and thereby restore schools funding until the pressure for reform becomes so great that they have no alternative. Parcel taxes such as Measure D simply grant Sacramento legislators an excuse to ignore the real problem. The problem is in fact compounded by passing on to future generations out of control public employee pension costs as well as the burden of higher taxes. We leave our children a world where schools, parks, libraries and hospitals are sacrificed in order to pay for the pensions of a single generation of public employees. Vote no on Measure D.
SONOMA COUNTY TAXPAYERS' ASSOCIATION
s/ Daniel A. Drummond, Executive Director s/ Jack Atkin, President
Measure D will provide stable locally-controlled funding that goes directly to our schools. The State does not control the money and cannot take one penny away from our local schools.
After four consecutive years of state funding reductions that have totaled an $8.4 million or 27% cut in funding, it is time to make our schools less dependent on Sacramento and enhance our local control of our schools.
The Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District has made the tough decisions to protect students from the worst of the budget cuts. Administration, salaries and benefits have been reduced, teachers and staff have been laid off and schools have been closed. There is little left to cut but programs that directly impact core academic instruction for students.
All Measure D funding goes directly to the classroom and is legally prohibited from being used to increase administrator salaries, benefits and pensions. Independent oversight and mandatory audits ensure funds are spent as promised. Senior citizens are eligible for a full exemption.
Our local schools are on the right track. A Yes Vote on Measure D will help continue the progress and ensure our students are prepared for college and 21st-century careers. Our community's most respected leaders all urge you to vote Yes on D for Cotati and Rohnert Park children.
s/ Fred Brokaw
Retired, Small Business Owner
|Full Text of Measure D|
The Governing Board ("Board") of the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School
District ("District") has established the goals of improving academic performance
and the quality of education for all children in the District so that they are prepared
for college and to compete for good jobs. Furthermore, the District aims to enhance local control of our schools and reduce our dependence on the State of California for education funding.
Over the last four years, the State has cut $8.4 million, or 27% of funding for our local schools in Cotati and Rohnert Park. This has caused drastic reductions to teachers and academic programs, and Cotati-Rohnert Park schools may lose another $2 million dollars in next year's state budget.
To balance its budget in the face of severe state cuts, the District has been forced to close 2 elementary schools and 1middle school, cut more than 75 teaching positions, reduce salaries and benefits, increase class sizes, shorten the school year, close school libraries, cut programs, and eliminate maintenance and administrative staff. Having already cut teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses, school psychologists, office staff, campus supervisors,custodians, maintenance and grounds staff, there is nothing left to cut but core academic instruction.
The Cotati-Rohnert Park Quality Teacher and Academic Instruction Preservation Measure would provide stable and predictable funding that our schools can count on to protect the most essential instructional programs for students from further budget cuts.
This measure would enhance local control of Cotati-Rohnert Park schools, make our schools less dependent on Sacramento, and provide vital funding to support students and education at a time when they need it most.
By law, all funds from this local funding measure must be used to protect the specified programs in Cotati-Rohnert Park schools and cannot be taken away by the State. Strict accountability is mandatory, including independent citizen oversight and annual audits to ensure funds are spent as promised.
TERMSTo protect quality education with local funding that cannot be taken by the State,shall Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District preserve reading/writing/math/science programs; keep school libraries open/available for students; protect art/music/vocational instruction; and attract/retain qualified teachers, by levying $89 per parcel annually for five years, with exemptions for senior citizens, independent citizen oversight, no money for administrators' salaries, and all funds staying local?
Moneys raised under this Measure shall be authorized to be used only for the following purposes in accordance with priorities established by the Board and to the extent of available funds:
A. Amount and Basis of Tax The parcel tax shall be $89 per Parcel of Taxable Real Property and shall be placed on the tax roll immediately following the adoption of the Measure and shall be levied for a period of five (5) years. The District shall provide the County of Sonoma Treasurer-Tax Collector ("County Tax Collector") a report indicating the parcel number and amount of tax for each Parcel of Taxable Real Property.
"Parcel of Taxable Real Property" is defined as any unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for ad valorem property taxes from the County 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.
Multiple parcels which are contiguous, under common ownership, contain a single-family residence, and that constitute one economic unit, meaning that they have the same primary purpose as the principal parcel and are not separate and distinct properties that may be independently developed or sold, shall comprise a single Parcel of Taxable Real Property for purposes of the parcel tax.
B. Exemptions for Seniors and People with Disabilities An exemption from payment of the special tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons 65 years of age or over who occupies said parcel as a principal residence, upon application for exemption and on any parcel owned by one or more persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age, who occupies said parcel as a principal residence ("SSI Exemption").
C. Claims / Exemption Procedures With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the County Tax Collector 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 tax, including the Senior Citizen Exemption and the SSI Exemption and the appropriate tax classification, the decisions of the District 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 by the District. 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. Taxpayers wishing to challenge any determination of the County Tax Collector must do so under the procedures for correcting a misclassification of property pursuant to Part 9 of Division 1 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code or other applicable procedures. Taxpayers seeking a refund of any tax paid shall follow the procedures applicable to property tax refunds pursuant to the California Revenue and Taxation Code.
D. 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.
E. Mandatory Accountability Protections
F. Protection of Funding Current law forbids any decrease in State or federal funding to the District resulting from the adoption of an education parcel tax. However, if any such funding is reduced or affected because of the adoption of this local funding measure, then the Board may reduce the amount of the special taxes levied as necessary in order to restore such State or federal funding and/or maximize the District's fiscal position for the benefit of the educational program. As a result, whether directly or indirectly, no funding from this measure may be taken away by the State or federal governments.
G. 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 taxing formula be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, all remaining parts of the Measure or taxing formula hereof shall remain in full force and effect to the fullest extent allowed by law.