It’s been several years since the passage of Measure E, a parcel tax benefiting the Las Virgenes Unified School District. Now, the district has support from the city of Calabasas in asking voters to renew the tax for another eight years.
The Calabasas City Council voted Sept. 19 to endorse the measure, which brings in about $2 million annually for the LVUSD.
Although they had the support of all the council members individually, Superintendent Donald Zimring and school board president Terilyn Finders wanted the board’s collective endorsement.
“We passed Measure E at a time when we were realizing significant budget cuts within the district that were going to affect the classroom,” Finders said. “Now, (the funds) provide reading support, library assistance, counseling support and the fourth/ fifth (grade) traveling science team. It’s making an incredible difference in the education of our children.”
Councilmember Barry Groveman asked why the measure had a four-year sunset clause in the first place. The clause is required by law, Zimring said, but he thinks it’s appropriate that the measure face a new vote.
“We think frankly as a policy decision, it’s good,” Zimring said. “It’s good we are under scrutiny. I think it’s good it comes back and the voters realize they have a chance on it. It’s our responsibility to show the voters that we are good fiscal stewards and we are living up to what our promises are.”
Finders let the board know that the parents of students on permits, who attend LVUSD schools but live outside the district and don’t pay the tax, are sent letters asking them to contribute.
“It’s a question that comes up a lot,” Finders said. “Are permit parents asked to contribute? Yes. Are they contributing? Yes.”
Also, there are exemptions for seniors over 65 and those Social Security categorizes as disabled.
Groveman jumped on board right away.
“I travel in educational circles, and I think it’s worth reporting that every place I go, when I say I’m from this area and the school district is LVUSD, I hear without exception, ‘That’s one of the great school districts,'” Groveman said. “Anything we can do to keep that going, I think it’s our civic duty.”
Mayor Pro Tem Mary Sue Maurer complimented the district’s handling of the measure.
“I just want to say how pleased I am with the focus, creativity and the responsibility you’ve shown in managing the first four years of this measure,” Maurer said. “I wholeheartedly support an additional eight years on this measure.”
Her colleagues agreed, unanimously passing the motion to endorse the measure.
And with the council’s endorsement, Finders asked for the public’s support on Nov. 6.
“I can’t tell you how to vote,” Finders said, “but I can tell you this is a very important tool for the district to be able to deliver the services that are deemed very important to our children’s education, not only by the district, but by parents and community members.”
The measure needs a twothirds majority vote to pass.