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Tuesday March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Special District

Novato Unified School District
Measure A - 2/3 Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


13,524 votes yes (55.39%)

10,890 votes no (44.61%)

100% of precincts reporting (33/33).

25,235 ballots counted.

To ensure quality education and protect $6,000,000 in annual school funding that cannot be taken by the State, shall Novato Unified School District's measure be adopted to attract/retain qualified teachers; protect quality math, science, reading, writing instruction; and expand counseling, by renewing the current $251 annual parcel tax and adding $125/parcel, for eight years with inflation adjustments, senior exemptions, independent oversight, no money for administrators and all funds staying local?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

BRIAN E. WASHINGTON, Marin County Counsel

If this Measure is approved by two-thirds of the votes cast on this special tax proposal, the Novato Unified School District will be authorized to levy an annual qualified special tax of $376 per parcel of taxable real property, beginning July 1, 2020, for a period of 8 years, with 3% annual increases to account for inflation. This special tax, if approved by voters, will supersede and replace the existing special tax authorized by voters as Measure A in May 2014.

The estimated revenue from this tax is approximately $6,000,000 annually. This Measure states that proceeds of the tax will be used for attracting and retaining teachers, maintaining academic, arts, and athletic programs, providing career and technical training, and expanding counseling for students. Proceeds will be controlled locally, reviewed by an independent citizen oversight committee, and subject to annual reporting.

An exemption from payment of the special tax may be granted for certain property owners aged 65 years and older as well as certain persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability or Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits.

This Measure was placed on the ballot by the Board of Trustees of the Novato Unified School District.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

Vote Yes on A to renew expiring local funding that our Novato schools have relied upon since 1992.

Your YES vote protects quality education in our Novato schools. Measure A renews local school funding that is set to expire and will keep great teachers in our classrooms, maintain strong academic programs and expand mental health services to support students that are struggling.

Every penny benefits local elementary, middle and high schools and cannot be taken away by the State.

Novato Unified School District recently made deep cuts to administration and non-instructional programs. Without Measure A the NUSD will lose $4.1million in annual local funding and be forced to cut academic programs, library programs and lay off teachers.

Vote YES to protect quality education in Novato schools:

  • Attract and retain highly qualified teachers
  • Protect quality academic instruction in core subjects like math, science, reading and writing
  • Protect music, art and athletic programs that provide a well-rounded education for our kids
  • Expand mental health counseling services to support students that are struggling
  • Provide career and technical training to prepare students for 21st century job market
  • Minimize increases to class sizes

Measure A requires strict fiscal accountability:

  • Every penny must stay in Novato and cannot be taken by the State
  • No funds can be used for administrator salaries
  • Independent citizen oversight and audits ensure funds are spent properly
  • Seniors are eligible for an exemption

Protecting the quality of Novato schools means keeping qualified and experienced teachers in Novato classrooms. Measure A is essential for attracting good teachers to Novato.

Whether or not you have school-age children, supporting quality education is a wise investment. Good schools protect our quality of life and our property values.

Join parents, teachers, seniors, business leaders and our community’s most respected leaders and vote YES on A for strong Novato schools!

Marin County Superintendent of Schools

28-Year Novato Teacher

Citizen’s Oversight Committee Chair

Novato Realtor

43-Year Novato Resident

Arguments AGAINST

NUSD hasn’t lost parcel tax dollars. The current tax doesn’t expire until July 2022.

Measure A is not just a renewal, it’s also a tax INCREASE with a 3% escalator

You’re already paying 55% of your basic property tax for K-14 schools and community colleges. This parcel tax is on top of that base. The only way to get real relief is to support “Full and Fair Funding” which would tax millionaires instead of the middle class.

School services cannot be cut if Measure A fails. State mandates REQUIRE NUSD to provide:

  • qualified teachers
  • quality academic instruction in core subjects
  • counseling services
  • and career and technical training

Previous Parcel Tax measures used the exact same language as Measure A, yet NUSD never delivered on their promises to Teachers.

For the third year in a row, NUSD teachers protested wages that don’t even meet the state average, while NUSD’s new Superintendent received a 10% wage increase and a guaranteed 3.5% COLA for the next four years.

NUSD’s academic programs are FAILING. In 2017- 18 only 46.4% of graduating students met state college and university course admission requirements.

NUSD must make budget changes that maximize facility use, reduce consultant and administrative overhead, and provide teachers with needed classroom support.

The bottom line is that NUSD must attract more students or reduce spending. That’s how you balance a budget.

Vote NO on Measure A.

To learn more visit

Tax Watchdog

Community Activist

Concerned Taxpayer

Novato Business Owner

Retired Finance Principal

Replies to Arguments FOR

Promises Are Made But Not Kept
Parcel taxes have NOT maintained quality education. In 2017-18 only 46% of students scored proficient or above in Math and only 55% in English Language Arts. Even with additional funding, only 46.4% of NUSD students met California State College entrance requirements in 2017-18 compared with 50.5% in 2016-17.

Teachers Are Not A District Priority
Voters approved five previous parcel tax measures, yet teacher salaries lag behind even the state average while NUSD increases pay for its administrators.

Class Size Is Locked In
The district’s contract with the teacher’s union already guarantees lower class size.

Enrollment Declines
NUSD loses an average of 100 students yearly. Declining enrollment should mean lower costs but NUSD is NOT living within its means.

The Elephant In The Room - Pensions
Pension contributions grow larger every year. Without statewide and local reform, voters will be forced to add end-less parcel taxes.

Taxpayers Get Crushed
Parcel taxes unfairly burden homeowners and renters. Novato property tax bills already have 12 extra line items with more to come.

Enough Is Enough
55% of your basic property taxes ALREADY go to K-14 education. The average homeowner pays an additional $1000 a year for NUSD and Community College bonds. Add a new $376 parcel tax with an annual 3% increase and soon you are paying over $1500 a year on top of 55% of your basic taxes!

Say No To Redundant Taxes
The Governor increased the 2019-20 Education Budget by $3.5 billion beyond Prop. 98 funding limits, reduced Pension contributions and added more money for Special Education. NUSD’s current $4.15 million dollar parcel tax doesn’t expire until July 2022.

Throwing more money at NUSD won’t solve problems with curriculum, instruction, and spending.


Learn more at

Taxpayer Watchdog

Community Activist

Former Novato Finance Advisory/Oversight Committee Member

Taxpayer Watchdog

30 year Bay Area Teacher/Administrator including time with NUSD

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The opponents have their facts wrong and offer no viable alternatives to support Novato students, teachers and schools.

FACT: If Measure A doesn’t pass, cuts to teachers and academic programs will be required. Administration and non-Instructional costs have already been cut to a minimum. Additional cuts will directly impact students.

FACT: Novato schools have relied upon stable, reliable and locally-controlled parcel tax funding since 1992 and accounts for 5% of NUSD’s budget. Allowing this funding to expire only makes our local schools more dependent on Sacramento.

FACT: Novato’s local parcel tax has not increased in 10 years. The modest $125 increase ($10 per month) simply accounts for inflation and lost purchasing power over the last decade.

FACT: Costly pension obligations need to be controlled. However, these are state mandates that NUSD has no choice but to pay. Punishing Novato kids with cuts to teaching and academic programs doesn’t solve the pension problem.

FACT: Schools are funded per student. California ranks 41st in the nation in per student funding and Novato schools receive among the lowest levels of funding in the State and THE lowest in Marin. Taking funding away makes matters worse.

FACT: Novato’s school parcel tax is one of the lowest in Marin. Without Measure A, Novato schools will struggle to attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers and students will fall behind.

Don’t give up on Novato students teachers and schools. Vote YES on A and protect Novato schools.

Certified Public Accountant & Novato Citizen’s Finance Committee Chair

Parcel Tax Citizen’s Oversight Committee Member

Novato Unified Parent and Business Owner

Tour of Novato Event Chair & School Fuel Advisory Board Member

30+ Year Novato Business Owner

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