Hello Arcadia Unified Staff and Parents/Guardians,
As you may know, funding for public education in California ranks among the lowest in the nation. Governor Brown’s recent state budget projections have California running at a $1.6 billion deficit by next summer. A recent L.A. Times article shed light on what this will mean for public education: “Brown proposed to address the deficit primarily by slowing the growth in spending on public schools by $1.7 billion, a change that brings funding down to the minimum required by formulas enshrined in California’s Constitution.”zz
This change in the budget equates to Arcadia Unified receiving an estimated $2 million less than what was originally projected. As the Board of Education’s recent resolution noted, the need for locally controlled funding led the Board of Education to place Measure A on the March 7, 2017 ballot. To continue to provide an excellent education for our children, our District can’t rely on inconsistent budgets and funding from Sacramento.
Measure A has and would be used to fund the following:
Retaining and attracting high-quality teachers
Maintaining advanced placement and honors courses
Protecting quality music, art, math, science, and reading programs
Keeping our schools safe and clean
Measure A is a parcel tax that was initially approved by voters in 2012 and has provided approximately $3.4 million a year that goes directly to our schools. To continue this local funding that is set to expire at the end of the year, our Board of Education has placed Measure A on the March 7, 2017 ballot. The proposed renewal of Measure A will last 18 years at a rate of $288 per parcel.
In addition to being in one of the lowest funded states for public education, because of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in California, our district is among the lowest funded school districts in L.A. County (see chart above). The LCFF directs more funds to school districts with higher percentages of low-income families, English Language Learners, and foster youth. All the districts listed below us in funding also receive parcel tax funding (see figures below) like we currently do.
Local School District Parcel Tax Funding Per Year
San Marino: $1,195
La Canada: $450
South Pasadena: $386
Palos Verdes: $374
Arcadia Unified: $228 (current), $288 (proposed on March 7, 2017 ballot)
Especially considering the latest budget projections from the state, without parcel tax funding, our District will be forced to join the many school districts around the state in making cuts. These cuts will include teacher layoffs, increasing class sizes, and the loss of many instructional programs like AP and Honors classes.
While our District’s funding in California and locally has been inadequate for years, I am very proud of all of you and what we have accomplished together as a staff and community. Despite the recession, and unstable funding, thanks to you we have still maintained a level of excellence in public education unlike any other district in the nation. Our students are matriculating to the best universities in the world year after year, our performing arts programs continue to march on in front of international audiences, and every day our children are growing, learning, and engaging as they prepare for college and the real world that awaits them. I want to sincerely thank all of you for your work over the years. Our reputation for excellence is a direct result of an exceptional staff working in a remarkable community.
Attached is an informational brochure about Measure A for additional information. You can also visit www.localfunding.ausd.net for more details. Thank you for taking the time to review this information.
Arcadia Unified School District Superintendent