School district officials hopeful for parcel tax

With a March 4 election looming, La Cañada Unified School District officials and supporters are hopeful their efforts to convince the community of the need for a $450, seven-year parcel tax to maintain top-notch schools and programs have resonated with local voters.

Residents within district boundaries have been asked to decide the fate of Measure LC in a mail-in ballot the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office recommends be mailed out by Thursday.

The Yes on LC citizens' campaign has relied largely on people power to help garner support, with parents, teachers and community members calling in a volunteer phone bank and participating in a Feb. 1 precinct walk.

"Our intention has been to focus on the great investment that our schools represent in our community," said LCUSD Board Vice President Andrew Blumenfeld.

Blumenfeld serves as board liaison to the LC campaign and helped lead the district's last parcel tax initiative to victory in 2009. That tax, which sunsets in June, is $150 per parcel and brings in nearly $900,000 to the district.

The new LC could bring as much as $2.7 million annually to the district, depending on the number of exemptions.

Campaign head Barry Reed said that funding is crucial to continue programs and provide long-delayed maintenance to aging campuses, since Gov. Jerry Brown's new school funding formula makes LCUSD one of the least state-funded districts in California.

"When we talk to voters, we hear that they understand we can't count on Sacramento to adequately fund our schools like the local control Measure LC provides," Reed said.

One La Cañada resident shopping Tuesday at a local center, who asked that her name not be used, said she was still confused about LC and hadn't yet voted.

Chris Anderson, who lives out of town but tutors La Cañada High School students, said he wasn't sure money would help the quality of education, which is already very high.

"La Cañada has some of the best schools in the U.S.A," he said. "I don't feel like money is the issue."

New La Cañada resident Sunny Yang, whose children attend La Cañada Unified schools, said Tuesday she'd heard good things about Measure LC.

"It's supposed to be good for the schools because it stays local," Yang said. "That sounds like a good thing."

Last-minute voters may take their ballots to City Hall, 1327 Foothill Blvd., on March 4 only, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Follow Sara Cardine on Twitter: @SaraCardine.


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