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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Educational Improvement and Accountabilitiy Act
Sonoma Valley Unified School District
Special Tax Measure - Two-thirds of voters voting required
Fail: 5,777 / 57.3% Yes votes ...... 4,299 / 42.7% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Results as of Nov 14 8:50am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (30/30)|
|Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
To improve education for our children and provide accountability to taxpayers, to recruit and retain excellent teachers, keep school libraries open, provide vocational career education programs, increase access to technology, restore cuts necessitated by lack of state funding, require annual audits and prohibit use for administrative salaries, shall the District be authorized to implement a special ninety-one dollar tax per taxable parcel for six years?
The measure proposes a special tax of $91 per year per parcel for each parcel of land within the District's boundaries. The tax would begin on January 1, 2008, and would remain in effect for a period of six years. The tax would be collected and administered in the same manner as regular ad valorem property taxes, under the provisions of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
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 recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, keeping school libraries open, providing vocational career education programs, strengthening college preparatory and basic academic programs, increasing access to technology, and restoring programs cut back because of insufficient state funding.
The Governing Board of the District will establish a Citizens' Oversight Committee to review how the money raised by the tax is spent. The Committee will report every year, and the Committee's report will be made available at every school and public library in the District. In addition, an independent financial auditor will prepare and present an annual report to the District Board stating the amount of funds received and expended during the prior year, and the status of any projects or description of any programs funded by the tax.
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. Persons claiming exemptions based on ownership by a senior citizen would need to apply to the District for this exemption under procedures that the District Board will implement.
If two-thirds of the voters in the District who vote on this measure vote "yes," the measure will pass and the special tax will be levied.
By: s/ Kathleen Larocque
|Arguments For Measure E||Arguments Against Measure E|
|We ask for your "Yes" vote for Measure E. Both federal and state budget cuts have drastically reduced funding for the Sonoma Valley Unified School District. Local officials have been forced to make millions of dollars of cuts. Our district will face making even deeper cuts to our local schools. We cannot ask them to cut any further.
Measure E will help keep school libraries open, provide funds to attract and retain high quality teachers, maintain high school programs such as vocational education, provide resources for art, music and sports, and improve our technology curriculum and resources. These resources will help us provide what is so necessary for a complete education.
Measure E will guarantee that all funds remain local. A citizens' oversight committee will report annually to the community so you will know exactly how much is being spent and for what. And not one penny of Measure E funds will go to administrator salaries.
Measure E was placed on the ballot with the support of teachers, parents, the business and agriculture communities, seniors, and public safety officials. Everyone agrees that our local schools are essential to our community and maintaining a high quality education at our local schools is critical. Senior citizens may apply for an exemption.
Make no mistake. Our local school officials will be forced to make further cuts if we don't pass Measure E. Our teachers are among the lowest paid. Our class sizes are too large. The students and our Sonoma community deserve better. The districts surrounding Sonoma have passed local measures to help their schools and now it's time we did our part.
Please help Sonoma schools by voting "Yes" on Measure E. It's fair, it's local, and it is time. Thank you.
s/ Mick O'Meara
s/ Bill Cogbill
s/ Kathy Witkowicki
s/ Tim Wallace President
|No argument was filed against Measure E.|
|Full Text of Measure E|
|Section 1. Title.
This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Sonoma Valley Unified School District Educational Improvement and Accountability Act.
Section 2. Findings and Purpose.
The Governing Board of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District hereby makes the following findings and declares their purpose in submitting the Act to the voters of the District is as follows:
(a) The quality of education for students in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District continues to be a major concern of the parents of these students, teachers, administrators and the entire community.
(b) Due to the lack of adequate funding coming from the State of California, the District has a serious need for consistent funding to maintain educational programs.
(c) The District has been forced to decrease their budget by 1.5 million dollars: reducing staff, closing school libraries, eliminating all sports, and cutting music and art programs.
(d) Without stable funding, it will be impossible to recruit and retain the current quality of teachers in the District. Quality teachers leave our district every year because of the high cost of living in Sonoma.
(e) Unlike surrounding districts, there is no parcel tax funding for the Sonoma Valley Unified School District. Many parents, community members and teachers contribute thousands of dollars each year for basic programs and supplies for sports, art and music.
(f) This Act would provide funds to increase the quality of public education for our community's children, by providing a consistent and reliable source of funding to recruit and retain quality teachers, keep libraries open, restore vocational and career programs, fund technology and maintain college preparation coursework.
(g) This Act proposes a tax of ninety-one dollars per taxable parcel. The proceeds from the parcel tax will be placed in a special fund and be subject to strict accountability measures required by this Act.
(h) To insure accountability, this Act requires that the Governing Board of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District establish a Citizens' Oversight Committee to review the expenditures of the proceeds of the parcel tax.The Citizens' Oversight Committee is required to issue a report as to the expenditures and this report must be made available to the public at every school and public library in the District.
(i) To further insure accountability, an annual independent audit will be required.
(j) All of the revenues from the parcel tax will be spent in the District and none of these funds will be sent to the State. The Act also specifically requires that none of the revenue may be used to pay administrator salaries.
(k) This Act will sunset in six years and may only be reenacted by a subsequent election.
(l) Senior citizen owned and occupied properties are eligible for exemption.
Section 3. Basis of Sonoma Valley Unified School District Parcel Tax.
(a) Upon approval of two-thirds of those voting on the Act, a special tax shall be authorized to be levied and collected in the amount of $91 on each parcel of taxable real property in the District beginning January 1, 2008, for a period of six years ending December 31, 2013. A "parcel of taxable real property" shall be defined as any unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for ad valorem property taxes from the Sonoma County Tax Collector's Office. With respect to multiple parcels that are contiguous and in the same ownership and that cannot be individually sold, leased (except for agricultural purposes) or financed, only one such parcel shall be subject to the special tax. All property that would otherwise be exempt from ad valorem property taxes or upon which no ad valorem property taxes are levied in any year shall also be exempt from the special tax in such year. An annual exemption for properties owned and occupied as a principal residence by persons 65 years of age or older shall be available by application pursuant to procedures to be prescribed by the Governing Board or otherwise required by law or by the Sonoma County Tax Collector.
(b) The special tax shall be collected by the Sonoma County Tax Collector at the same time and manner and shall be subject to the same penalties as ad valorem property taxes collected by the Sonoma County Tax Collector. The tax shall bear interest at the same rate for unpaid ad valorem property taxes until paid.
(c) With respect to multiple parcels that are contiguous and in the same ownership and that cannot be individually sold, leased (except for agricultural purposes) or financed, only one such parcel shall be subject to the special tax.
(d) With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the Sonoma County Tax Collector 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 special tax, including the Senior Citizen Exemption and the classification of property for purposes of calculating the tax, the decisions of a District administrative review panel shall be final and binding.
(e) The proceeds from the special tax shall be deposited into a fund which shall be kept separate and apart from other funds of the District.
(f) The Sonoma Valley Unified School District Governing Board shall use the proceeds from the special tax for the following purposes: (a) restore cuts made in the District budget including, but not limited to, reductions in personnel; (b) library services; (c) vocational and career programs; (d) technology support; (e) college preparatory programs; (f) basic academic programs; and (g) recruiting and retention of highly qualified teachers.
(g) The Sonoma Valley Unified School District Governing Board shall appoint a Citizens' Oversight Committee to review the annual expenditures of the proceeds of the special tax. The Citizens' Oversight Committee shall be comprised of 11 members and shall include parents, teachers and school administrators. The Citizens' Oversight Committee shall prepare and issue an annual report that details what expenditures were made by the Governing Board and whether they comply with the requirements of this Act. This report shall be made available to the public at every library and public school in the District.
(h) The Sonoma Valley Unified School District Governing Board shall retain an independent auditor to conduct an annual audit of the proceeds from the parcel tax and the audit shall be made available to the public at every library and public school in the District.
(i) Proceeds from the special tax shall only be used for the purposes identified above. No proceeds from the special tax may be used for administrator salaries.
Section 4. Severability.
The Sonoma Valley Unified School District Governing Board hereby declares, and the voters by approving this measure concur, that every section and part of this measure has independent value, and the Governing 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.