Measure K Parcel Tax

Jessica Smith - Staff Writer, '14

Due to the California budget cuts, members of the local community are working together to raise money necessary funds to keep the Las Virgenes Unified School District “boyant” in a time of crisis.

In November, Calabasas residents will be asked to vote on a new parcel tax that will greatly affect the Las Virgenes Unified School District.

The main purpose of this tax, Measure K, is to minimize the negative impact of the state budget crisis on education. Every business owner and homeowner within the LVUSD will be taxed $95 for his or her piece of land. Money will go specifically toward public education.

The parcel tax is able to produce an estimated $2 million annually and $17 million across its eight-year life span. The money will go towards minimizing teacher layoffs, restoring funding for classroom materials and preventing future cuts to the music and art programs. Additionally, the tax aims to protect programs in math, science, writing and reading.

“The programs that will be affected by the parcel tax depend on where the state cuts the budget, but they will definitely go towards the core academic courses and the reduction of class sizes,” said the president of the LVUSD Board of Education Jill Gaines.

The parcel tax, which would be the second instituted, needs a 2/3 vote to become a law. The first parcel tax, known as Measure E, was approved by voters in 2004 and has brought in approximately two million annually to aid the district.

Measure E, which is still in place, and Measure K are very similar, except that Measure K is a few dollars less. The two taxes would both be in effect at once, so residents would have to pay both taxes at the same time. The first parcel tax was supposed to end in 2007; however, it was renewed until 2015.

Both taxes exempt senior citizens and disabled residents are. Other residents within LVUSD are opposed to an additional tax on their land.

“The opposition is just against any new taxes, regardless of what is tied to them,” said Gaines. “The parcel tax stays local, and is only in our district. Most families move to this area for the schools and these families want to keep low class sizes and high academic achievement.”

In the case that the tax is not approved, The School Board will take appropriate measures to help balance the budget.

“If the tax is not passed, the district must prepare to generate another round of layoffs in the spring to minimize the gap,” said LVUSD business official Karen Kimmel. •