Dear AUSD Community:
On November 4, 2019, the Albany Unified School District Board of Education approved placing a measure on the March 3, 2020 primary election ballot to extend current parcel tax funding for an additional six years. The measure will also raise an additional $700,000 annually to address the gap in state funding.
This parcel tax is necessary for several reasons:
- The District has been deficit spending for several years. The funds we get from all sources simply don’t cover the costs of a high-quality education. The District is currently projected to exhaust our reserves within three years, even without accounting for raises for teachers and other staff, or for significant unexpected expenditures. This deficit is driven by rising costs, as well as insufficient state funding for Albany schools.
- In 2014, Albany voters passed the Measure LL parcel tax. Last year, the District received approximately $1.5 million from Measure LL. However, Measure LL will expire in July of 2021. If it is not replaced, the District will need to cut expenditures by at least $1.5 million. This would be a devastating loss, corresponding to approximately 13 full-time teaching positions.
- The March ballot measure will ask for an increase from $318 to $448 per parcel. The measure would run for six additional years while maintaining Measure LL’s exemptions for senior and disabled homeowners.
- Although Albany voters passed Bond Measures B & E in 2016, those funds can only be spent on much-needed construction projects. No bond funds can be used for teachers, school staff or classroom materials.
Parcel taxes provide a stable source of local funding that helps protect Albany students and programs from volatility and cuts resulting from the boom and bust budget cycle of Sacramento. Albany has a long tradition of supporting its public schools, one of the best-known features of our community.
Parcel taxes must be passed with a two-thirds vote, requiring strong community support. Local supporters have formed a campaign committee in favor of the measure. No District funds or resources can be used to support campaign activities; however, the District may provide the community with facts about the parcel tax and the state of the District’s finances.
The District will continue to provide budget information on an ongoing basis. At the December 10, 2019 Board of Education Regular Meeting, the first interim budget report for the current school year will be presented. Discussion will include an analysis by the Budget Advisory Committee, a stakeholder group comprising community members, parents, administrators and teachers.
Frank Wells, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Albany Unified School District