Tomorrow is an election throughout the area. Specifically, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills residents vote for two things: City Council members, and Measure K.
As a citizen, it is your responsibility to vote. It’s what sets our country apart from others. It is your opportunity to speak up on the issues of our cities. Please take a few minutes to fulfill this obligation.
For City Council, Westlake Revelations hosted two debates — one for Westlake Village, and one for Agoura Hills. Videos of these were aired on Time Warner’s Community channel. If you missed them, you can also see them online at:
As always, you can see additional information on measures and candidates at:
Measure K: School Parcel Tax
Measure K is the $95 parcel tax that generates an estimated $2.2 million per year for Las Virgenes Unified School District. A vote of yes supports an additional property tax of $95 per parcel for eight years. This is in additional to the $98 Measure E parcel tax currently on your tax bill. In essence whether you vote in favor of the parcel tax (Yes) or against it (No), it comes down to a simple personal choice on whether you want to spend $95 per year to help the schools when the state has slashed school budgets.
Of recent, there have been some issues raised about the parcel tax that we’ll address.
* In recent years, auditors have noted “deficiencies” in LVUSD’s finances in a few areas. The most significant of these include having higher special education costs than most districts (this cost is primarily determined by the needs of the student body), and not having enough reserves to meet the state set goals.
* While not required, the families of out of District “permit” students are asked to pay an amount similar to the parcel taxes that LVUSD residents pay. Many, but not all, give the District these amounts or higher (in addition to the parcel taxes paid in their own local area).
* In addition to any donation by permit students, each permit student brings in over $5000 of additional revenue to the District (the base amount set upon by the state for all students in California). On top of that, the greater amount of students allows the District some additional flexibility and efficiencies that also result in financial benefit.
* Declining enrollment saves some money in some places, but costs more in other areas as there are fewer students to amortize all the general costs of running a school district.
And, there’s been some specific questions:
* Can Measure K funds be used for administrator salaries or benefits? No.
* Have administrators taken pay cuts in recent years? Yes, as have teachers. This is one of the primary ways that the District was able to handle the 18% budget cuts from the State over the past few years.
* Can seniors and disabled persons opt out? Yes. An exemption is available to persons who are 65 years or older, or who receive Supplemental Security Income regardless of age. They do, however, need to apply each year with the District. [Correction: Seniors do not need to re-apply each year.]
* Can overhead costs be cut? This is an opinion question, but factually we can tell you that LVUSD has amongst the lowest percentage of overhead in the state.
* Can’t construction monies be spent in the classroom? No. The District operates a budget that is full of different “buckets” of money. Funds from one bucket cannot be used for another. In the case of construction funds, taken from bonds approved by Measure G, this must go towards depreciable assets (like a building, or computers) and specifically not towards any operating costs.