Alameda has a long tradition of funding its schools through voter-approved parcel tax measures. These sources of funding account for approximately 20% of the current AUSD budget. This allows AUSD to attract and retain quality educators as the cost of housing and living continues to rise in our community. It also helps the District provide educational technology, support career technical education, and sustain strong programs in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, preparing high school students to compete at the top colleges and in the 21st-century workforce. Without these sources of funding, the District could be forced to consider cuts and layoffs up to $24 million annually. The State has proven to be an unreliable funding partner. To fill this gap, Alameda schools rely on local funding like many other neighboring school districts in the Bay Area.
Currently, the District relies on two existing revenue sources to support quality schools and attract and retain excellent teachers: Measure B1, which raises nearly $13 million per year and expires in June 2025, and Measure A, which raises nearly $11 million and expires in 2027.
To help ensure a stable funding source for Alameda schools while maintaining quality education, in the fall of 2023 AUSD actively explored options to renew our local parcel tax funding. After two polls, a community survey, and outreach to our PTAs and charter school partners, the District decided the most conservative and effective measure would be one that consolidates and renews the two existing parcel taxes into a single measure. This new measure would replace the existing measures and maintain the same structure and rate. As it is a replacement tax and not a new tax, the new measure willnot increase taxes for local property owners.
The new measure would also continue to provide locally controlled funding to help AUSD maintain quality schools by:
Sustaining strong academic programs in reading, writing, math, arts, and sciences
Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers by keeping salary and benefits competitive
Supporting teachers and counselors in keeping struggling students on the right track
Protecting sports, art, music, and performing arts programs
Maintaining a thriving network of neighborhood schools
At its November 14 meeting, the Board of Education unanimously approved putting this new measure on the March 2024 ballot. The resolution and actual ballot language are available in this agenda item from that meeting.
AUSD has proven to be a good steward of public funds and has spent past voter-approved funding as promised. Any future parcel tax measure could include the same fiscal accountability as past measures, including:
All funds would be controlled locally and could not be taken away by the State
Independent citizens’ oversight and mandatory annual audits would be required
Senior citizens and individuals with disabilities would be exempt from the cost — current exemptions need not reapply