Special BOE Meeting for March 4, 2008
1.) Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) Proposed Budget Reductions Response to State Budget Crisis
Governor Schwarenegger released his proposed budget on January 10, 2008 for the fiscal year starting July 1. The Governor also declared a fiscal emergency and called for some of the cuts to take effect before the July 1 start of the next fiscal year. More significantly for education funding, the Governor is requesting suspension of Prop 98. In a January Board meeting staff estimated the fsical impact to AUSD to be $4,000,000.
In 2004, the Governor Schwarenegger was able to suspend Prop 98 via a deal that was brokered prior to relase of 2004/05 budget. This deal occured one year after Governor Davis declared a fiscal emergency with looming deficits totaling $34 billion dollars.
In order to suspend Prop 98, 2/3 of both houses of the Legislature need to agree to suspend the consitutional amendment.
Previous spending reductions AUSD has made budget reductions in 2001 ($1.6 million) 2003 ($1.7 million), 2005 ($1.6 million) 2006 ($800,000) and 2007 ($1.4 million). During this time, AUSD has worked diligently to be fiscally responsible and maximize limited resources on behalf of students and staff.
Previous spending reductions have required consolidation of schools and functions, reogranization of departments, reduction of services, and loss of others. Given this context, it is not possible to produce an additional $4,000,000 in spending reductions with a severe impact on students, staff, schools, and our educational programs and services.
Therefore, in order to minimize disruption and upheaval to our distict bought about by the Governors proposed cuts to education funding, the Superintendent recommends the following 2-year spending reduction plan totaling $4,000,000 and one-time reimbursement funds totaling $1,080,000 during 2008/09.
The detailed explanation of the items listed above, start on page 6 of the district supplied copy of the budget recommendations.
The Board heard from speakers from 8pm to 11pm. Then for the next two hours the Board worked on modifying the Superintendent recommendation. Class size reduction for grade 3 was removed.
Board Approved Reductions
Here is the Board direction regarding reductions to athletics. The original recommendation was to reduce athletics $345,000 and close the swim pools saving $120,000 for a total of $465,000. The Board directed staff to make total reductions of $265,000, not specifying what specific reductions to make in this area. No decisions were made on what sports or athletic programs would be funded with the remaining $200,000.
Fiscal Implications: None
Superintendent Goal: Goal #2 Align the spending plan.
2.) Resolution No. 08-0010 Ordering a Special Parcel Tax Election
Background: Due to the Governor’s proposed budget released January 10, the Alameda Unified School District is expecting a loss of $4.5 million in revenue for the 2008/09 budget as a result of reduced state funding. This loss in revenue comes on top of $7.7 million in budget cuts enacted over 7 years - $1.4 million in the current year alone. We have already cut administration and non-teaching staff. Without additional local revenue, we will have no choice but to begin making deep cuts to core educational programs, including closing schools, increasing class sizes, eliminating teaching/staff positions, as well as elective courses, such as Advanced Placement, music, and sports programs.
Following Board discussion, staff researched and discussed revenue enhancement options. California school districts can raise local revenue through a voter-approved parcel tax measure. Accordingly, we have begun assessing the options for placing a parcel tax measure on the June ballot. A first draft of the ballot measure and resolution calling for a June parcel tax election is submitted for review and comment by the Board. Staff has focused on a temporary 3-year assessment with a tax rate of $120 per residential parcel, with a $0.15 per square foot assessment on commercial and industrial parcels (with a $120 minimum and a maximum of $7,500). Staff and the consultants have begun to gather input on this proposal from key stakeholders in the community.
The proposed measure will provide parcel tax funds to prevent cuts to core educational programs. This flexibility demonstrates the critical importance of a local parcel tax. Parcel taxes are an important source of locally controlled, stable funding that insulates our schools from volatile and often unpredictable state funding. Please note that the June election is the District’s last opportunity to achieve voter authorization in time to raise revenue for next fiscal year 2008/09. If we wait, we will not begin receiving revenue for an additional year, fiscal year 2009/10.
ALAMEDA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
RESOLUTION NO. 08-0010
RESOLUTION ORDERING A SPECIAL PARCEL TAX ELECTION, ESTABLISHING SPECIFICATIONS OF THE ELECTION ORDER, AND REQUESTING CONSOLIDATION WITH OTHER ELECTIONS
RESOLVED, by the Board of Education (the “Board”) of the Alameda Unified School District (the “District”), as follows:
WHEREAS, the State has proposed $4.5 million in funding cuts to the District for the 2008-2009 budget year;
WHEREAS, the District has already cut $7.7 million from the budget over the last 7 years, including $1.4 million in the 2007-2008 budget year;
WHEREAS, the District has already cut administration and non-teaching staff to the minimum, and further funding reductions will necessitate direct impacts on core academic and structural programs;
WHEREAS, the District will be forced to eliminate and curtail essential educational services due to inadequate funding from the State due to changes in state education funding;
WHEREAS, the District will be forced to close schools, increase class sizes, eliminate teacher and staff positions, eliminate elective courses including classroom programs such as Advanced Placement and music; and eliminate sports programs due to inadequate funding from the State Legislature;
WHEREAS, the District must seek additional sources of local revenue in order to continue meeting students' basic educational needs by keeping schools open, maintaining small class sizes, retaining qualified teachers and staff, and maintaining elective courses;
WHEREAS, the District is determined to meet these goals and sustain classroom and other services directly related to student educational preparation and performance;
WHEREAS, funding from the State of California (the "State") has not been adequate to meet these goals, and the District has no assurance that State funding will in the future permit the District to meet these goals;
WHEREAS, funding from the Federal Government does not constitute a significant portion of the District's budget and is insufficient to meet these goals, and the District has no assurance that Federal funding will in the future permit the District to meet these goals;
WHEREAS, the District is identified by the State as a “low wealth” school district due to receiving below average ‘Base Revenue Limit’ per student funding;
WHEREAS, the District continues to engage in a variety of efforts to generate funds for the District's educational programs, including lobbying in the State Legislature, local fund-raising efforts, and cost-cutting measures;
WHEREAS, these efforts at efficiency, innovation and fund raising cannot be counted on to produce sufficient revenues to maintain the classroom programs upon which local students depend for their academic preparation; and
WHEREAS, Section 4 of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution and Sections 50075, 50075.1, 50075.3, 50075.5, 50076, 50077, 50079, and 53720 et seq. of the California Government Code authorize school districts to levy a special tax to raise funds for the purpose of conducting its business upon the approval of two-thirds of the votes cast by voters voting upon such a special tax proposal;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of Education of the Alameda Unified School District does hereby resolve, determine, and order as follows:
Section 1. This resolution shall stand as the order to the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools to call an election within the boundaries of the District on June 3, 2008, for approval of the measure contained in Section 2 hereof. The authority for the specifications of this election order is contained in sections 5304 and 5322 of the California Education Code and section 50079 of the California Government Code.
Section 2. The full text of the measure to be submitted to the qualified voters within the District shall read as follows:
(a) To offset severe state budget cuts to Alameda schools, minimize school closures, and protect the quality of education, student safety, class sizes, excellent teachers and staff and to restore prioritized cuts to music, athletics, advanced placement courses and other programs, shall Alameda Unified School District levy a temporary 4-year emergency tax of $120 per residential parcel and 15˘ per square foot for commercial/industrial parcels (see voter pamphlet), with exemptions for seniors and residents receiving supplemental security income for a disability, citizen oversight, no funds for administrator salaries, and all funds staying local?
(b) The special tax shall be levied as follows:
(i) (A) On each taxable, residential parcel at the rate of $120 per year, and (B) on each taxable, commercial or industrial property at the rate of $0.15 per square foot per year (but commercial or industrial property of 2,000 square feet or smaller paying $120 per year and commercial or industrial property larger than 2,000 square feet paying a maximum of $7,500 per year amended to increase the amount to $9,500 at the meeting).
(ii) The tax shall be collected in each year, beginning July 1, 2008, for a period of four years, ending June 30, 2012.
(iii) Real property otherwise exempted from taxation under the constitution and laws of the State of California shall also be exempted from any liability for the special tax imposed by this measure.
(iv) An exemption from the special tax will be made available to owners of single family residential units in which they reside who will attain the age of 65 years during the assessment year, who owns a beneficial interest in the parcel and who uses that parcel as his or her principal place of residence. Owners must apply to the District for this exemption in the manner and at the time set forth in procedures established by the District. Such application shall be on forms available from the Chief Financial Officer’s office. Any one application from a qualified applicant will provide an exemption for the parcel for that assessment year, and with an annual renewal with the District, for the remaining term of the assessment so long as such applicant continues to use the parcel as his or her principal residence.
(v) An exemption from the special tax will be made for owners of single family residential units receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age. Owners must apply to the District for this exemption annually in the manner and at the time set forth in procedures established by the District. Such application shall be on forms available from the Chief Financial Officer’s office and must provide information sufficient to verify that such owner is in fact receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability.
(c) The revenue raised by the special tax shall be used for the educational purposes set forth in the measure. The revenue raised by the special tax shall be accounted for separately. Each year, the Board of Education of the District shall, pursuant to section 50075.3 of the California Government Code, file an annual report as provided herein accounting for the parcel tax revenues collected and the manner in which they have been spent.
(d) The citizen’s oversight committee established in connection with the existing special tax shall be continued and which shall meet to oversee all expenditures funded by the measure to ensure that said funds are spent wisely and used only for purposes approved by the voters. This volunteer citizens’ committee shall monitor the expenditures of these funds by the District and shall report on an annual basis to the community on how these funds have been spent.
(e) On July 1, 2008, and thereafter, the special tax shall be collected by the Alameda County Tax Collector in the same manner as ad valorem property taxes are fixed and collected under provisions of the California Revenue and Taxation Code. The special tax shall be subject to the same penalty and enforcement provisions as relate to ad valorem taxes. The special tax and penalty shall bear interest at the same rate as the rate for unpaid ad valorem taxes.
(f) The provisions of this measure shall not apply to any person, association or corporation or to any property as to whom or which it is beyond the power of the District to impose the tax herein provided. If any section, subsection, sentence, phrase, part or clause of this measure is, for any reason, held to be unconstitutional, illegal or invalid, such decision shall not affect or impair the validity of the remaining portions of this measure. It is hereby declared that the intention of the Board of Education of the District and the electorate that this measure would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal or invalid section, subsection, phrase or clause thereof not been included.
Section 3. The abbreviated text of the measure to be submitted to the qualified voters within the District, as displayed on each individual ballot, shall read as follows:
To offset severe state budget cuts to Alameda schools, minimize school closures, and protect the quality of education, student safety, class sizes, excellent teachers and staff and to restore prioritized cuts to music, athletics, advanced placement courses, shall Alameda Unified School District levy a temporary, 4-year emergency tax of $120 per residential parcel and 15˘ per square foot for commercial/industrial parcels (see the voter pamphlet), with exemptions for seniors, citizen oversight and all funds staying local?
_____ Yes _____ No
Section 4. The Secretary of this Board is ordered to cause certified copies of this resolution and order to be delivered not later than March 7, 2008, to the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, and the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors of Alameda County.
Section 5. The Alameda County Superintendent of Schools is hereby requested to prepare and execute a Formal Notice of Parcel Tax Election and consolidation order in substantially the form attached hereto as Exhibit A (the “Formal Notice”), and to call the election by causing the Formal Notice to be posted in accordance with section 5362 of the California Education Code no later than March 5, 2008, or to otherwise cause the notice to be published as permitted by law. The Secretary of this Board, on behalf of and as may be requested by the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools, is authorized to cause all notices required by law in connection herewith to be published and posted, as the case may be.
Section 6. Pursuant to section 5303 of the California Education Code, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters is requested to take all steps to hold the election in accordance with law and these specifications. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters is hereby requested to reprint the measure in its entirety in the voter information pamphlet to be distributed to voters pursuant to section 13307 of the California Elections Code. In the event the measure in Section 3 will not be reprinted in the voter information pamphlet in its entirety, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters is hereby requested to print, immediately below the impartial analysis of the measure, in no less than 10-point boldface type, a legend substantially as follows:
“The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure ___. If you desire a copy of the measure, please call the Alameda County Registrar of Voters at (510-272-6933) and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.”
The Alameda County Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Supervisors of Alameda County are requested to order consolidation of the election with such other elections as may be held on the same day in the same territory or in territory that is in part the same. The Board of Supervisors of Alameda County is authorized to canvass the returns of the election pursuant to section 10411 of the California Elections Code.
Section 7. The President of this Board, or any member or members of this Board as the President shall designate, is hereby authorized, but not directed, to prepare and file with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters a ballot argument in favor of the proposition contained in Section 2 hereof, within the time established by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, which shall be considered the official ballot argument of this Board as sponsor of the proposition.
Section 8. This resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption.
The Board vote 4 to 1 with Board member Jensen objecting to the last minute increase to commercial/industrial cap to $9,500 to approve the parcel tax resolution. There also wording change to ballot language which I do not have at this time.
Fiscal Implications: The parcel tax measure as described above is estimated to generate approximately $3.9 million per year. The District will incur approximately $95,000 to reimburse the County for the cost of administering a June parcel tax election.
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