School Parcel Tax Renewed, Saving Some Teachers’ Jobs

The San Marino Unified School District got its parcel tax renewal last week, as 1,805 of 2,612 ballots submitted by voters supported the tax that has been collected by the district since 1991.
The tax — $366.40 per year per parcel — will continue to fund the salaries and benefits of 14 teachers and support staff members for the next six years. It is expected to generate about $1.6 million annually for that purpose.
“On behalf of the board of education, I want to thank the community of San Marino for its financial support of the district by voting to renew the existing parcel tax,” SMUSD board President Lisa Link said in a statement that was emailed throughout the district. “The district can continue to provide smaller class sizes and offer enhanced instructional, counseling, library and technology services that would not otherwise exist due to the lack of sufficient state funding.”
Voters expressed their support or opposition via mail-in ballot, with a postmark deadline of Tuesday, Feb. 26. The Los Angeles County registrar’s office considered all ballots received by Friday, March 1. Unlike most elections in which a simple majority or plurality is needed for victory, this one required two-thirds approval of the measure.
The 1,805 affirmative votes represented a 69.21% approval, with percentage signaling the lowest measure of renewal of school district parcel taxes in the last decade. (There were 803 votes against renewal.) This tax, known as Measure R, was previously renewed in 2013 with 71.58% of the vote, and the district’s other parcel tax was renewed in 2015 with 75.62% approval and in 2009 with 71.19%.
The county received four ballots that did not have a selection, according to Mike Sanchez with the registrar’s office, accounting for the discrepancy in numbers.
With 2,612 total ballots received out of a possible 9,569, the voter turnout for the renewal was a mere 27.3%. (SMUSD voter registrations are typically slightly higher than those for San Marino municipal elections because the school district’s boundaries extend beyond city limits.)
Nam Jack, who served on the school board until last year, coordinated public campaigning for the tax’s renewal, as the district and its officials are prohibited from opining one way or the other on the contest. The district is permitted to disseminate factual information.
“Special thanks go to our former board colleague, Nam Jack, for leading the parcel tax campaign and to the many volunteers on the Citizens for San Marino Schools committee who put in countless hours on behalf of all San Marino students,” Link added.
Some information for this report was taken from the county registrar’s website at lavote.net. The final numbers will be updated sometime today, according to
Sanchez.

Leave a Reply