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Measure S won't raise tax rate

March 23, 2011

Passing Measure S in the April 5th election is a vital cornerstone of support to our schools, children and teachers. I cannot think of any logical reason why the leadership of the Glendale Teachers Assn. is not supporting this issue. They seem to be the only hold-out against a long list of well-respected supporters.

Our schools need our financial support as state budget funding is being strangled. Most state funding is used for teacher salaries and other operating expenses. Very little is left to accumulate for construction or large maintenance projects. I think that we should all begin to understand that our schools have two distinct funding needs, each with its own revenue source.

Construction, maintenance refurbishment and infrastructure upgrades have to find local funding. That’s what the school district did with Measure K in 1997. That bond measure funded $186-million worth of needed upgrades and technology investment.

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Our school district managed those projects very well. In many cases, the district managed to get matching funds, which made our tax dollars go farther. Glendale Unified even refinanced Measure K bonds to keep our tax rates low.

Now we need Measure S to fund security and technology upgrades, major maintenance and construction. It’s time to replace the aging and uninspiring bungalows with real buildings, and to catch the wave of new technologies available to help our kids learn. Measure S allows the district to use bond funding effectively for long-term projects, freeing the General Fund to support teachers and students.

It’s very convenient for people to say that we don’t need new taxes. When we live in a community, we implicitly agree to pool our resources for the needs of all, even though we may not see a direct personal benefit. Our community needs to improve its school infrastructure. Parcel taxes are not an effective alternative to fund infrastructure expenses. Local bonds are the least costly way to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for capital improvements.

With Measure S, a home with an assessed valuation of $400,000 would have an annual tax of $184 ($46 per $100,000 of assessed value). That’s the same as we paid last year for school bonds. Of course, property taxes are deductible expenses. In my mind, a couple of hundred dollars a year is a very reasonable cost to support our school infrastructure.

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