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Measure QS endorsements roll in

Measure QS endorsements roll in
State senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman are on a growing list of endorsements for Burbank Unified's parcel tax, known as Measure QS. (Photo by David Laurell)

Endorsements for Burbank Unified’s parcel tax, known as Measure QS, continue to arrive as Election Day is less than three weeks away.

As of Thursday afternoon, the pro-tax Yes on QS committee had claimed eight thumbs up from local organizations as well as endorsements from area politicians such as state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman and state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge).

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The boon hasn’t been a surprise to Yes on QS Committee member Anita Schackmann.

“We’re true on what we’re trying to accomplish, which is to bring more money to Burbank schools,” she said. “This $9 million a year goes to Burbank schools and doesn’t filter to other school districts or the state.”

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Measure QS is a 10-cents-per-square-foot annual parcel tax expected to generate $9 million a year for the district. The fee is roughly $170 per average Burbank resident, while seniors 65 or over can opt out.

The tax needs two-thirds voter support to be enacted.

Once passed, the tax renews annually and can only stop upon a repeal from residents. If the tax passes, an independent citizen oversight committee would be created to monitor the funds.

So far, the Burbank Democratic Club, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, Burbank Teacher’s Assn., Burbank Council PTA, Burbank Assn. of Realtors, Burbank Assn. of School Administrators and the Armenian National Committee of America Burbank chapter have given their backing.

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The Burbank Council PTA had been researching the parcel tax since the spring and endorsed the measure in early September via a 45-0 vote from its members.

“I really wasn’t surprised by the [PTA] vote,” said Amy Kamm, Burbank Council PTA vice president of Leadership. “We educated voters on how this serves students. This is not your personal feelings, but based on PTA principles and it was an easy decision.”

The BTA launched a social media campaign, beginning Oct. 4, advocating for the measure on its Facebook and Twitter platforms. The goal is to spotlight how nearby school districts, such as Arcadia and La Cañada, have passed and benefited from parcel taxes.

“Passing Measure QS will help ensure Burbank students get the best possible schools, with the best programs, staffed with the best possible educators,” BTA president Diana Abasta said. “It’s a modest investment for the community that will provide great returns for our kids.”

Of the endorsements, two were from Democratic clubs and one from labor, which could raise an eyebrow from Republican and independent voters.

Yet Schackmann wasn’t too concerned.

“We’re happy to have the endorsement of anyone who wants to endorse the measure,” she said. “We won’t shy away from endorsements, although it is a nonpartisan measure, for sure.”

Committee treasurer David Dobson was specifically pleased to have nabbed the support of one group.

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“All the endorsements are important, but I was particularly happy to get the Realtors board,” Dobson said. “Who knows more or who cares more about the state of the city in terms of having an effect on their day-to-day business? It was big.”

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