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Campaigning Under Way for Parcel Tax

Measure K proposes an annual $95-a-year tax on local homeowners to support Las Virgenes Unified schools.

Phone banking recently began for Measure K, a proposed $95-a-year parcel tax that would generate more than $17 million over eight years for schools.

The ballot measure is going before voters in the Nov. 8 general election and requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

If approved, the new tax would generate about $2.2 million a year for the school district, beginning in 2012, said Chief Business Official Karen Kimmel.

So far, a majority of voters who are Las Virgenes Unified parents and nonparents contacted by phone say they are in favor of the new parcel tax, according to Pat Schulz, head of the Citizens for Excellent Las Virgenes Schools, Yes on Measure K committee.

"We're getting great support," said Schulz, a former member of the Las Virgenes Unified School District Board of Education.

Schulz said the campaign would also be sending out mailers about Measure K to homeowners and placing ads about the ballot initiative in local newspapers.

School board members agreed to place a new parcel tax on the ballot earlier this year to curtail future budget cuts at the state level. In the past four years, Sacramento has trimmed Las Virgenes Unified's funding by $10 million, Schulz said.

Generating new funds for local schools isn't just important to parents of Las Virgenes Unified students, she said. Having good schools is vital to a community's housing market, she said.

"The excellence of our local schools is a major reason why our local property values remain high. Regardless of whether you have children attending the schools, a great school system is vital to the community," Schulz said.

The Yes on Measure K campaign has so far raised about $73,000, including a $25,000 contribution from the Las Virgenes Educational Foundation.

Stuart Selter, the foundation's president, said one of the reasons his group supports the parcel tax is because each dollar it generates would remain untaxed by Sacramento.

"The measure will preserve small class sizes and keep the best teachers," he said, adding: "This is the heart and soul of what education is about."

An independent citizen oversight committee would monitor the spending of the parcel tax money, Schulz said.

The newly assessed funds would join those generated by Measure E, another local parcel tax that was approved by voters in 2004. The annual levy that's already in place collects $98 a year from homeowners within the district and is set to expire in 2015.

Agoura Hills resident Barbara Murphy, co-founder of Citizens Against New Local Taxes, said there is no justification for a new parcel tax.

Among the several reasons why she opposes Measure K, Murphy said, is that there is a large number of students who don't live within the district and were granted permits to attend Las Virgenes Unified schools.

"We have thousands of students whose parents won't have to pay the new parcel tax," she said.

As of last week, there are 759 Las Virgenes Unified students out of the district's 11,285 who are on permit and don't live in the district, according to Superintendent Donald Zimring. There are 808 students who have at least one parent who works within the district's borders, which Zimring said "under state law qualifies them as a 'resident' for the purpose of attendance."

Murphy also said it's bad timing to pursue a new tax during tough economic times.

Schulz, who served on the school board during the Measure E campaign, said times are tougher for most people, but they are even tougher for schools.

"The economic climate is difficult, but it's even more difficult for the school district," she said. "The school district needs the local community to step up more than ever because Sacramento is not funding schools adequately."

smith October 17, 2011 at 02:24 PM
Such a scam to sidestep Prop 13. Look at your property tax bill with all the extra assessments. Reality is government has too many employees, paid too much, retiring too early,with pensions too large. This is where the money goes. Why do they keep building, remodeling? Glad to have nicely repaved streets, but they keep re-doing them in the area-- for more, higher pension-based salaries. School district too top heavy in administration. In ballot statement, the proponents did not rely to the specific assertions of opponents, I hope opposition turns out to counter school pitch to parents and bogus argument about property values. This school district, like all of them, wastes their time on state-mandated politically correct education. Instead of occuping Wall Street, voters should occupy government institutions to end the sinecures for incompetents. At least one principal for years was a bunbling incompetent. Like bad teachers, they don't get fired. School board members become part of the problem.
jo ann mondrus-eichelberger October 18, 2011 at 06:07 PM
It amazes me that the writers of Measure K have the "chutzpah" to ask for more money! We're still paying on a bond measure that was to expire years ago! Back then we were given the same schpeel about how this bond would help our schools. It was only temporary. Then it was extended. Now you ask again??? Why was the last measure not enough? This is no more than the the mentality of the youth these days; "gimme, gimme", "you owe me"," I'm entitled". It's so obvious there person/people who are in charge of this measure are irresponsible with money. You need to take stock that there are many of us do not have the extra $98/yr. to keep giving. For me and this household, our vote is N-O - NO! BTW - where can I get a lawn sign to display that says, NO ON Measure K?
jo ann mondrus-eichelberger October 18, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Many in the community don't know that if 65 and over you can opted out of this and the previous measure. Where can we get an opted out form?
W.T.C. October 21, 2011 at 04:40 PM
You need to contact the LVUSD at 818-880-4000 every year by mid June and ask to have the assessment removed from your property tax bill. They will send you a form and you can fax it back to them. Right Now Measure E is still in effect till 2015. The school district web site makes it very difficult to find out this information so make sure you call and get the form sent to you. If the voters in this area are stupid enough to support the new measure K and it passes then you will have to ask for a form for each with Measure K lasting for 8 years. Remember the original Measure E was originally voted on in 2004 and then renewed at the 2007 election. Get the facts as www.endtaxanspend.com
W.T.C. October 21, 2011 at 11:58 PM
You need to contact the LVUSD at 818-880-4000 every year by mid June and ask to have the assessment removed from your property tax bill. They will send you a form and you can fax it back to them. Right Now Measure E is still in effect till 2015. The school district web site makes it very difficult to find out this information so make sure you call and get the form sent to you. If the voters in this area are stupid enough to support the new measure K and it passes then you will have to ask for a form for each with Measure K lasting for 8 years. Remember the original Measure E was originally voted on in 2004 and then renewed at the 2007 election. Get the facts as www.endtaxandspend.com I reposted as I misspelled the website

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