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."