Renewing Parcel Tax Funding » Renewing Parcel Tax Funding FAQ

Renewing Parcel Tax Funding FAQ

Los Gatos Union School District

Parcel Tax Renewal Measure

Frequently Asked Questions

   

How are Los Gatos Union School District (LGUSD) schools performing?

The award-winning LGUSD elementary and middle schools are a source of pride for the local community. Los Gatos students receive an education focused on innovative core academics and classroom programs. These programs, delivered by highly qualified teachers and staff, help contribute to each child’s development as global and socially responsible citizens, preparing them to succeed in high school and an ever-changing world. 

 

How have local parcel taxes funded LGUSD schools and students? 

For over 30 years, the Los Gatos and Monte Sereno voters have renewed a parcel tax measure for LGUSD. This locally controlled funding has enabled the District to keep highly qualified teachers in the classrooms and to maintain core academic programs. LGUSD’s first parcel tax was in 1990 and was renewed in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2008. The most recent parcel tax renewal measure, Measure B, was renewed in 2013. This funding is set to expire in June 2022. 

 

How is Measure B funding used for LGUSD schools and students? 

Funding from Measure B is a stable local funding source that is used to: 

  • Retain highly qualified teachers
  • Expand programs and labs in science, technology, engineering, arts and math
  • Protect core academic programs including reading and writing 

 

How much does the existing parcel tax cost and when does it expire? 

Measure B currently costs homeowners $290 per year and generates approximately $2.75 million annually to the LGUSD budget. This amount of the tax has not increased in nearly 20 years, thus the value of this tax has steadily declined due to inflation.

 

Measure B funding is set to expire in June of 2022 and cannot be renewed without an election. If the measure expires, LGUSD would face $2.75 million in cuts, or the equivalent of losing 15% of the teaching staff in LGUSD schools. 

 

How does the District plan to address the expiring parcel tax?

In July, the LGUSD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to place a parcel tax renewal measure, also called Measure B, on the November 2, 2021 ballot. If passed by local voters, the measure could renew the existing $290 rate, and add $45 per parcel with a 2% annual increase per year to offset the decline in value due to cost-of-living increases.

How has the District managed its budget?

The District continues efforts to be transparent and involve the community in its budget process. Since 2012, there has been an active Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) that works closely with the District to understand the budgetary challenges the District is facing and to assist in effectively communicating that information out to parents and the community.

 

Over the past 2 years, the District has been focused on updating the Strategic Plan and Vision for the next five years. The administration held over 28 focus groups with 500 individuals attending to provide stakeholder input and feedback.

 

What and who is the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC)?

The FAC is a committee of 30 members composed of parents, teachers, classified staff, principals, board members and members of the Los Gatos community. The FAC is charged with fully understanding LGUSD plans, budgets, investments and funding as well as having a basic understanding of educational financial governance and statutes. Its purpose is to advise and recommend to the LGUSD Board of Trustees the financial strategies, practices and policies that will help ensure a sustainable, long-term financial model that aligns with LGUSD’s ‘Students First’ strategic vision of providing every student with a globally competitive education. 

  

What fiscal accountability provisions are included in a parcel tax measure?

Similar to the previous Measure B, this Measure B would have fiscal accountability, including independent citizens’ oversight and mandatory annual audits to ensure funds are spent as promised. All funds would be controlled locally and could not be taken away by the State. Additionally, senior citizen homeowners will continue to be eligible for an exemption.

 

What would happen if the parcel tax measure does not pass?

If Measure B does not gain support of 66.7% of local voters who vote in the November 2, 2021 election, LGUSD may have to lay off 23 teachers which is 15% of the total staff.  This would directly impact LGUSD students, potentially increasing class sizes and limiting the ability of schools to provide mental health services, art programs and academic electives.   

 

How does LGUSD per pupil funding compare to other similar districts?

Within California, LGUSD spending per student is 20% less than the top ten similar districts. This means the District spends approximately $3,000 less per student than similar districts.

 

Do other school districts in our area rely on parcel taxes to  fund academic programs  in their local schools?

Yes. Many similarly performing districts in the Bay Area depend on parcel taxes to fund educational programs.

 

District

Parcel Tax Rate

Annual Adjustment

Portola Valley School District

$581

Currently seeking one

Reed Union Elementary School District

$607

3%

Larkspur-Corte Madera Elementary School District

$825

5%

Palo Alto Unified School District

$836

2%

Menlo Park City School District (4 measures)

$1,143

Based on CPI, cannot exceed 4%

Mill Valley School District

$1,373

5%

Piedmont City Unified School District

$2,406

Based on CPI, cannot exceed 2%

 

How does parcel tax funding relate to LGEF and the Home and School Clubs?

LGUSD relies on many sources of funding to fund a high-quality educational program for local students.  Parents and community members donate to LGEF, which provides supplemental funding for key programs for the District as a whole, such as art, music, health, counseling, PE, and math and literacy specialists.  Parents donate to Home and School Clubs to fund school-site specific programs for students.  The previous Measure B, and the new Measure B, are a district-wide, local source of funding that funds basic academic programs in District schools and helps to retain teachers. If Measure B does not pass, LGUSD would lose $2.75 million annually.  All sources of parcel tax funding are in addition to the base revenue that the district receives and have helped to provide a well-rounded education for all students. To learn more about local funding of our schools: https://www.lgusd.org/apps/pages/schoolfunding

 

Where can I find information about the existing citizen oversight committee?

The Financial Advisory Parcel Tax Oversight Committee (FAPTOC) is a sub-committee of the FAC and annually reviews and reports out on Measure B funding and expenditures in LGUSD. You can view the committee’s reports by going to visit https://www.lgusd.org/apps/pages/faptoc. All funds from Measure B must stay in LGUSD and no funds can be taken by the State or go to other school districts.

 

How do I find out more about the exemptions available?

Homeowners over the age of 65 or anyone receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability may obtain an exemption from the current tax by applying through the District office. To learn more about the exemption process, please visit the district website at https://www.lgusd.org/apps/pages/exemptions.

 

Where can I get more information about Measure B?

More information on Measure B can be found on the District website at www.lgusd.org/RenewalMeasure. You may also contact Terese McNamee, Chief Business Official, at (408) 335-2022 or at [email protected]