LCUSD Staff Will Calculate Parcel Tax Charge

The La Cañada Unified School District staff is determining an appropriate figure of inflation to Measure LC, the parcel tax that stakeholders voted to renew in March of last year, the district’s Governing Board was told at a virtual meeting Tuesday night.

The measure’s original language called for the tax not to exceed $450 per parcel in the 2020-21 fiscal year and to be adjusted thereafter annually for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index for the Greater Los Angeles area.

Mark Evans, associate superintendent of business and administrative services, had proposed a 1.64% increase that would result in a levy of $457.38 per parcel, which would give the district an additional $39,704 in funding.

However, two residents later expressed concern over the staff’s method of calculating inflation because it averages numbers rounded to tenths and included figures from 2019, before Measure LC was adopted.

Evans and board members informally agreed to use CPI figures from the fiscal year that began in July 2020 and ended June 30 to determine the parcel tax for the current fiscal year, even though that method would be more demanding for the staff. Every summer, the district collects parcel tax information, exemptions and new purchases and then processes it in early August to have it delivered to Los Angeles County officials for property tax bills.

“It’s doable,” Evans told the Governing Board, with the precise charge per parcel under Measure LC to be determined after the information is collected.

BOARD APPROVES PAY BUMP FOR SUPERINTENDENT

In other business, the board voted unanimously to extend Superintendent Wendy Sinnette’s employment contract and increase her salary by 2%, from $280,289 to $285,894.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to work for all five of you, and it’s definitely a privilege to work for the La Cañada Unified School District,” Sinnette, who has served the district since 2002 and took over the role of superintendent in 2011, told the board. “I couldn’t be more blessed. I’m humbled and grateful.”

Board Vice President Dan Jeffries praised Sinnette for her leadership during what was a difficult year for all districts in California due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced schools to pivot to distance learning in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I think that is part of the agreement we can’t overlook: how valuable it is to have someone stable and steady at the helm like Wendy,” Jeffries said. “I think the next few years are going to continue to be challenging, and who knows what the issues will be, but I think that our district is well served by having Wendy at the helm for another year.”

Board member Josh Epstein commended the superintendent’s work ethic, saying, “Based on the times I’ve seen Wendy in the office and on Zoom, I’m just glad we’re not paying her hourly. I think we’re getting a good deal, and it’s great to have her at the helm and her support through challenge after challenge.”