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Measure EE – Where it’s At

What is the story with Measure EE, that parcel tax that we passed to help with funding the schools ? How many seniors opted out ? At the Culver City School Board Meeting on May 24, Crystal Alexander of the Measure EE Oversight Committee read this statement-

“Proposition EE, the school parcel tax, was passed by the voters of Culver City on November 3, 2009. It provides that all property owners within the Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) boundaries are assessed $96 per parcel per year for 5 years.

The new tax went into effect in July 2010 and Culver City property owners were assessed the tax on their 2010 tax bills.

As of March 1, 2011 a total of $482,000 has been received by the CCUSD from the county. It is anticipated that by the end of 2011, a total of $1.2 million will be received by the CCUSD.

As stated in the ballot measure put before voters, the parcel tax funds were to be used to protect the quality of education in Culver City schools. The measure provides that the funds must be used to maintain math, science, technology, music and art programs, retain teachers and maintain school libraries.

A professional auditing firm has been hired by the school board and will issue an audit on the use of the funds at the end of 2011. However, the Oversight Committee has carefully examined the current district budget and we can report that the funds received to date have been properly applied to math, science, art and music programs and school libraries. Specifically, the funds have been used to help pay the salaries of math and science teachers, music and art teachers and two library clerks. Without the Proposition EE funds, the district would have had to make additional cuts in these areas.

It is important to point out that our committee has confirmed that the Proposition EE funds have not been used for any capital improvement projects or administrative salaries.

The funds from the parcel tax are just one of many sources of the CCUSD’s annual budget of $50 million. A major portion of the CCUSD budget comes from the State of California, which has experienced severe budget reductions. In comparison, the parcel tax is a unique and valuable source of funding because it is relatively stable and it comes from and stays in Culver City.

Adopted by the Citizens Oversight Committee on May 4, 2011.”

Afterwords, Roberta Sargent came to the podium to ask how many seniors had chosen to opt out. School Board President Scott Zeidman offered that he did not know, but “the average opt out rate for parcel taxes was about 10%.” District Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services Ali Delawalla reported that there were 910 exemptions. Sargent asked how many could have opted out, and George Laase offered from the audience that the number was 13,000. Zeidman quickly noted that was about 8%, even less that the average.

The money is coming in, and while EE funding will not even come close to filling in the budget gap inflicted on the district by Sacramento, it’s another reminder that local support for the schools is community wide.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Measure EE – Where it’s At”

  1. Christine Ferreira says:

    THank you to all the voters who supported Measure EE and to all the senior citizens who have not voted to opt out of the parcel tax.

  2. Debbie Hamme says:

    Dear Editor,

    Your article about the Measure EE Oversite Committee’s update left out the questions I asked about the community survey that was a stepping stone to Measure EE being placed on the ballot. I asked about the correlation between the community survey and the spending priorites as specified in the language of Measure EE.

    If the crafters of Measure EE did not take the results of the survey into consideration when writing the measure, that is a major concern.

    For example, as a voting member of the community, I distinctly remember school security being listed on the survey as a choice to prioritize. I cannot imagine that parents in our district did not feel that maintaining a high level of security on our campuses was a priority. Yet that was not one of the areas of spending that was noted by Ms. Alexander at Tuesday night’s meeting.

    When I asked what the correlation was between the results of the community survey and the language contained within Measure EE (and consequently, the way the district has chosen to spend the Measure EE funds), there was no answer.

    The district has asserted that there was never any prioritization by the voters for how these funds would be spent, but that cannot be true if the actual surveys were tallied and the results taken into account, as they should have been. The results of the surveys should have been(and still can be)shared with the public.

    Since the Measure EE Oversite Committee can only testify that the funds are spent in accordance with the priorities that have been set by the district administration, can we honestly say that the desires of the voters are being recognized in this process?

    How exactly can the broad scope of the Measure EE language, below, be tracked? How, specifically, are these funds being spent to maintain math, science, technology, music and art programs when we are apparently in danger of losing our elementary music program? How are we maintaining our school libraries
    with these funds when we’re cutting the hours of our elementary librarians and eliminating a librarian at the high school?

    “To protect the quality of education in Culver City schools from deep State budget cuts by providing stable local funding to maintain: math, science, technology, music and art programs; updated instructional materials; quality teachers; school libraries; and small class sizes; shall Culver City Unified School District levy an annual tax of $96.00 per parcel for 5 years only, with exemptions for seniors, independent oversight, no money for administrators’ salaries, and all funds staying in Culver City to benefit our local schools?”

    These are questions that both the Measure EE Oversite Committee and community should be asking.

    Sincerely,

    Debbie Hamme
    President
    Association of Classified Employees–Culver City

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