Budget update October 2019

AUSD continues to be in a structural deficit, despite several cuts made last year and some much-needed funding increases from Governor Newsom.

This fall, the Board must decide whether to renew Measure LL, the parcel tax that will expire July 2021. The Board met on October 7 and discussed the findings from a polling survey done of Albany voters. I’ll update this post shortly with a link to those results.

Background on the parcel tax

In 2014, Albany voters passed Measure LL, which provided a parcel tax of $278/year for our schools. In 2019-20, this tax is $318 per parcel after being adjusted for inflation.

In 2018-19, the district received approximately $1.5 million from Measure LL (unaudited 2018-19 actuals). Measure LL will expire in July of 2021. If it is not replaced, the district will need to reduce expenditures by that amount.

Measure J, a permanent parcel tax currently set at $591 per parcel, has no expiration date. In 2018-19 the district received approximately $4.5 million from Measure J.

Parcel taxes must be passed with a two-thirds majority.

Key questions the Board will decide this fall:

  • Whether to propose a ballot measure to replace the expiring parcel tax
  • The amount of any possible replacement tax
  • The duration of any possible replacement tax
  • Which election to place any possible tax on the ballot (March 2020 or November 2020)
  • Whether to adopt the same exemptions as Measure LL
  • Additional language for the ballot measure

The ballot question to voters in 2014 was phrased as follows: [see here for the full text of the Board’s resolution]

“To maintain excellent schools; preserve funding for science, art, music, library services, and reading and math support; attract and retain exceptional teachers and counselors; limit class sizes; and keep schools safe and technology and textbooks up-to-date; shall Albany Unified School District replace an expiring $159/year parcel tax with a temporary, six-year parcel tax of $278/year, with senior and SSI/SSDI exemptions, adjustments for inflation, independent audits, and all funds staying local to benefit Albany students?”

Key deadlines and Scheduled Board Meetings:

Regular board meeting: Consultant report presentation, review and discussion of parcel tax and exemptions
October 7, 2019
Regular board meeting: Board scheduled to make decision on placing a parcel tax measure on a 2020 ballot.
October 22, 2019
Regular board meeting
November 4, 2019
Regular board meeting
November 19, 2019
Deadline to submit ballot language for March 2020
December 5, 2019
First possible election date
March 3, 2020
Deadline to submit ballot language for Nov. 2020
August 7, 2020
Second possible election date
November 3, 2020