By Dr. George Mckenna
Election Day is Tuesday June 4, 2019. All persons who reside within the boundaries of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are eligible to vote on ballot Measure EE. This measure will provide additional resources directly to students including school nurses; counselors; librarians; teachers; smaller class sizes in English and math; enhanced arts, music and vocational classes; and support services to ensure clean and safe school environments.
As the elected School Board Member in District 1, I voted to place Measure EE on the ballot, which is a parcel tax annual assessment of 16 cents per square foot for 12 years on any home or commercial property located in the LAUSD school attendance area. The projected cost for a 1,500 square foot house would equate to $240 annually or $20 per month. However, there is a total exemption from the tax for any homeowner age 65 or older and for certain low-income residents with disabilities. Revenue raised will directly support all schools and particularly affect the neediest students and schools that are primarily located in our neighborhoods. An independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee will be established to monitor and review all expenditures and provide public periodic progress reports to the School Board, ensuring transparency and accountability.
The recent work stoppage by LAUSD teachers was a result of the severe financial hardship currently facing the District due to over 20 years of underfunding by the State of California upon which we are dependent for 90% of our revenue. California currently ranks 44th in the nation for education funding per student, despite the fact that we have an economy equal to the 5th wealthiest county in the world. A recent report from the County Office of Education declared that without additional funding or severe budget cuts including massive layoffs, the LAUSD is in danger of fiscal insolvency within the next three years. Measure EE is an opportunity for local taxpayers to provide $500 million dollars annually to honor the mutual commitments made to settle the strike; return our valued teachers to the classrooms and more effectively meet the needs of our students.
Measure EE is supported by numerous elected officials, community groups and individuals including but not limited to Governor Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Thurmond, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti and City Council, UTLA, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Sentinel, local ministerial alliances and various local State legislators.
All registered voters should have received a sample or official ballot in the mail. You are encouraged to vote either in person at your local precinct, or preferably by mail. No postage is required. In most LAUSD jurisdictions, Measure EE is the only item on the ballot.
I am appealing to all eligible voters to exercise their right to vote which for many of us and our ancestors was a right denied for generations. Education remains the greatest unmet civil right in this nation and to choose not to vote during a critical election related only to public schools, denies your voice to be heard.
Please exercise your right to vote YES on Measure EE.