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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Special District

Burbank Unified School District
Measure QS - 2/3 Approval Required

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Election Results


25,413 votes yes (64.33%)

14,093 votes no (35.67%)

100% of precincts reporting (48/48).

To attract and retain quality teachers and staff, provide local funding to maintain low class sizes, expand college and career courses, increase mental health support, expand instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs, shall the Burbank Unified School District levy 10 cents per square foot of improved property annually, providing approximately $9,000,000 in annual local funding the state cannot take away until ended by voters, with senior citizen exemptions and independent oversight/audits?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel

Approval of Measure QS (“Measure”) would authorize the Board of Education (“Board”) of the Burbank Unified School District (“District”), which placed the Measure on the ballot by Resolution No. 1, to levy a qualified special tax (“Tax”) of $0.10 per square foot of improvements per year on each parcel of taxable real property. If approved, the Tax will be levied annually beginning July 1, 2019, and continuing until ended by the voters.

Proceeds from the Tax shall be used only for the purposes specified in the Measure, including, but not limited to: attracting and retaining teachers and staff; maintaining low class sizes in grades TK-3; expanding college and career courses; increasing mental health support; and expanding instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math programs.

The Board shall conduct an independent performance audit annually to ensure that Tax proceeds are spent only for the purposes authorized by the Measure. The Board shall conduct an independent financial audit annually of the proceeds of the Measure. The Board shall appoint an independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee to ensure that Measure proceeds are spent only as authorized in the Measure. An annual written report shall be made to the Board, showing the amount of funds collected and expended and the status of projects funded by the Tax. Tax proceeds shall be deposited in a special account.

Any property otherwise exempt from ad valorem property taxes in a tax year shall also be exempt from the Tax in the same year. To provide tax relief to senior citizens within the District, any parcel owned and occupied by a person 65 years or older shall be exempt from the Tax upon proper application to the District. The exemption shall be available pursuant to procedures to be prescribed by the Board or otherwise as required by law or by the County Tax Collector.

The Tax shall be collected by the County Tax Collector at the same time, in the same manner, and subject to the same interest and penalties applicable to ad valorem property taxes.

This Measure requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote for passage.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Parents, teachers, and leaders throughout our community urge a YES vote on Measure QS to protect quality schools within the Burbank Unified School District.

Our community has worked hard to make our local schools among the best in the state and we need local funding to ensure our students thrive.

Our school district, like others in California, is facing serious financial challenges. Measure QS, is needed to provide local funding for our schools that the state cannot take away.

Measure QS will authorize much needed funding to:
– attract and retain quality teachers and staff,
– maintain low class sizes,
– expand college and career courses,
– increase mental health supports,
– expand instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs

Measure QS:
– Includes an exemption for senior citizens age 65 or older
– Requires independent citizens oversight and annual audits
– Is deductible on State and Federal income taxes

Good schools are the foundation of a thriving Burbank community. Quality neighborhood schools protect property values, attract strong families to the community, and contribute to our high quality of life.

Please join citizens throughout Burbank in casting your vote to protect high quality education at the Burbank Unified School District.

Vote YES on QS.

BUSD Alumni Parent

Burbank City Manager, Retired/Grandparent


Retired BUSD Employee/Grandparent

Burbank Armenian National Committee of America

Arguments AGAINST

As past Board Members and concerned citizens, we stand united in opposition to this parcel tax PROPOSED BY THE BURBANK UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT for the following reasons:

The District enumerates broad but ill-defined goals that are not sustainable, because the actual use of these funds will be for increased salaries and benefits. District teachers and support staff should be well-compensated, but the fixed parcel tax revenue will, over time, provide only decreasing revenue as demand for increasing salaries and benefits, rising pension fund obligations, and the effects of inflation continue to occur.

Based on our years of experience as Board Members, we know that it is necessary to take a long-term view of the District’s maintenance and technology needs. However, this parcel tax does NOT address those future needs. Consequently, the District will have to ask voters to pass another bond issue in the future.

This tax is FOREVER, highly unusual for parcel taxes, which typically have sunset clauses so that voters can evaluate their effectiveness every four-to-seven years.

This tax places an unfair burden on property owners, renters and businesses. Apartment owners, for example, will be especially hard hit, year after year, discouraging future investment and development in Burbank. Existing apartment owners will certainly have to raise rents and higher rents will limit the ability of families who want to live in Burbank and send their children to Burbank schools. Currently, over 1300 students do not have parents living in Burbank; they don’t contribute to bond repayment and will not pay this parcel tax either.

In conclusion, this parcel tax is a Band-Aid approach to a State issue. Political pressure must be brought to bear at the State level to provide more funding to the District.

Board Member 1981-1993

Board Member 1984-1995

Board Member 2005-2017

Replies to Arguments FOR

We can all agree that Burbank has a very good school district for both our students and our teachers, and we all want to maintain it. This parcel tax will NOT achieve this goal. Below are the reasons why:

-- The Burbank Unified School District asserts that this local source of revenue cannot be taken away. But this assumption is in error as shown by the fact that California courts and the State have taken away local funding of schools in the past. For example, the courts and the State have taken such action in an attempt to equalize per-pupil funding across economically unequal school districts. (Serrano v. Priest, 1971; Proposition 13, 1978.)

-- Focusing on the revenue issue, the promises made are NOT SUSTAINABLE. For example, salaries for additional teachers to support existing and new programs would mean LESS money in the following years to support salary and benefit increases and rising pension fund obligations until the parcel tax revenue very soon runs out, and then what -- an additional parcel tax?

-- Finally, Burbank voters are being asked to support a parcel tax that lacks specificity. The District’s broad “feel-good” goals are without substance. In addition to the unavoidable and ever-increasing salaries and benefits, the District offers no details concerning what programs the District believes are needed, nor how much these new and/or expanded programs will cost, both in the near term nor on into the future.

Vote NO on Measure QS.

BUSD Past Employee

BUSD Past-Employee

Business Owner

Business Woman & Retired Teacher

Retired Teacher

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

In response to the argument against:
- Without additional local funding we cannot provide a cost of living adjustment to our teachers and employees, maintain low class sizes, expand college and career courses, increase mental health supports, and expand instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs. The opposition does not offer a realistic solution on how to support our schools.
- The supporters of Measure QS feel that it is more important to take a long-term view on investing in teachers and the supports that have a direct impact on students. Bonds cannot be used for these types of investments.
- Measure QS is similar to other taxes that can be ended by voters if they are dissatisfied with the results. The oversight committee can also recommend to the Board to end the Measure.
- The average homeowner will pay 50 cents per day, this is an investment that is critical to ensure quality schools for the children of Burbank.
- Measure QS includes an exemption for individuals over 65.
- Quality schools ensure stable home prices and a strong community.
- The State should fund education adequately, however, even after 10 years of investment, California is still ranked in the bottom 10 states in school funding.

Cutting supports for students while we wait for Sacramento to invest in education runs counter to our commitment to the children of Burbank.

Vote YES on QS.

BUSD Alumna, Parent of Alumni, Grandparent

Retired BUSD Educator

Burbank City Manager, Retired/Grandparent

Burbank Armenian National Committee of America

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