As the somber realization of the defeat of Measure QS was setting in following the Nov. 6 election, the Burbank Educational Foundation launched an effort to provide a portion of the funding that Burbank Unified will not receive because of the measure’s loss.
The all-volunteer organization created its “Partnering for Success — All In for Burbank Schools” campaign, with a goal of raising $2.5 million by June to help offset potential cuts in the school district.
“There was a lot of chatter on social media when it became clear that QS wasn’t going to pass, and a lot of people were frustrated and disappointed,” said Amy Kamm, the foundation’s vice president of communications. “Many people said that if the people who voted ‘yes’ donated what they would have paid in taxes, we can avoid cuts.”
The effort was started after Measure QS, Burbank Unified’s parcel tax aimed at raising a little over $9 million annually, was headed toward defeat on election night.
Since Measure QS was a parcel tax, it was required by Proposition 13 to receive a two-thirds vote of support to pass.
According to initial results, Measure QS received 16,354 “yes” votes, or 61.68%. That number rose but eventually fell short in the final results, in which 25,413 voters, or 64.33%, supported the tax, while 14,093 voters, 35.67%, opposed it
Had the parcel tax passed, the average Burbank homeowner would have paid roughly $170 annually.
Foundation members were hoping to tap into the groundswell of support by asking “yes” voters to donate that $170 to the campaign.
“Despite our disappointment over Measure QS not receiving enough votes to pass, it has been a joy to see how many members of our community recognize the importance of well-funded schools,” said Linda Rosen, the foundation’s president, in a statement.
She added, “Even before the campaign fully launched, other Burbankers created their own social-media fundraisers online, raising over $3,000 within a few days. Members of the public who voted ‘no’ still see the value in having quality schools and have made donations to support our students.”
That $170 donation can be made as a one-time payment or broken into $14 monthly installments.
The campaign has raised more than $25,000 since its inception about three weeks ago, according to Kamm.
Shortly after Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27, a day set aside for charitable donations, the foundation’s Twitter account messaged that it had received almost $7,000 in single-day donations.
The foundation’s $2.5-million goal mirrors the district’s estimated structural deficit of the same amount by the end of the 2018-19 school year.
Beyond voters supporting the parcel tax, Kamm is hoping Burbank businesses and residents who didn’t support the measure will contribute.
“We don’t expect to reach $2.5 million just with ‘yes’ voters, but also with help from our corporate backers,” Kamm said. “We also know there were people, including friends of mine, who voted ‘no’ to Measure QS because there was no sunset [clause in the tax].
She added, “This is their time to set up and make a one-time donation or whatever they feel is appropriate to support our schools.”