When the LAUSD and UTLA reached a hard-bargained for agreement this January, it provided for among other things, reduced class sizes by four students by 2021, 300 additional nurses, almost 80 librarians and 80 additional counselors. Part of the deal included support for a ballot measure to create a parcel tax for additional funding for LAUSD to help meet these commitments. This measure is slated for the June 4 ballot, and is labeled Measure EE.
Ballot Measure EE would create a parcel tax of $0.16 per square foot on properties within the district. This is estimated to generate about $500 million annually for LAUSD. The tax provides for exemptions for seniors and disability recipients. The text of the ballot is below, and can also be found here:
EE–QUALITY TEACHER, CLASS SIZE REDUCTION, AND LOCAL SCHOOL SAFETY MEASURE: To retain/attract quality teachers; reduce class sizes; provide counseling/nursing/library services, arts, music, science, math, preschool, vocational/career education, safe/well-maintained schools, adequate instructional materials/supplies; support disadvantaged/homeless students; shall Los Angeles Unified School District levy $0.16 per square foot of building improvements annually, exempting seniors/certain disability recipients, providing approximately $500,000,000 annually for 12 years, requiring annual audits, oversight, and funding local schools?
Public education is at the core of a vibrant, functioning democracy. With income inequality at record highs, it is more important than ever to ensure access to a quality education with reasonable class sizes, staffing of campuses with nurses, librarians and counselors, and fair pay for teachers. This is why it is dissapointing to see the L.A. Chamber of Commerce and VICA (the Valley’s business chamber) each oppose this measure. You can read the Chamber’s statement here, and VICA’s statement here. Their opposition appears to be grounded in the fact that the tax is based on square footage vs. a “flat” tax where homeowners and small businesses would pay the same tax rate as large mansions and large businesses.
Educating our children is a shared responsibility across all segments of our city. I urge our business chambers to reconsider their positions and support funding a quality education for our children. LAUSD and UTLA reached agreement on a path forward for our children, with the help of our city and state leaders, including Mayor Garcetti who supports this measure. There’s no question that additional reforms are needed - this is just a first step in moving forward to reforming our school system. However, starving our school district of funds is not the answer. Our city should follow through on this commitment to start down the path of providing a better education for our children. I am a parent of two children in LAUSD - let’s get behind our kids’ future - let’s vote YES for Measure EE.