Measure E for “Excellence in Education in San Marino”

UPDATE: With 4,822 votes cast in support of Measure E, the vote passes by 71.17%.

If you live in San Marino or within the boundaries of San Marino Unified School District, you might be getting a phone call asking you to support Measure E. Here are some facts about this measure so that you can make an informed decision when you receive the ballot in the mail.

State budget cuts pose an immediate threat to San Marino’s schools.

Due to a $42 billion deficit, Sacramento has drastically cut school funding. For San Marino schools, this will mean a minimum $5 million budget shortfall. The budget cuts needed to address this shortfall will devastate much of the legacy of excellence our community has built in the local schools over the last 50 years.

One out of every three teachers will be lost.

Without Measure E funds, our schools will be forced to eliminate the jobs of 50 to 60 teachers – 1 out of every 3 teachers in the school district. Without these teachers, class sizes will increase dramatically — by 40% to 50% — doubling the number of students in some classes across all grade levels.

Cuts will impact every classroom and every child.

Without Measure E funds, schools will be forced to reduce the number of core academic classes available to students. Many advanced placement and honors classes will disappear. Foreign language opportunities will vanish. Academic and counseling services to students will be cut in half. Comprehensive K-12 visual and performing arts programs will be greatly reduced or eliminated as will the schools’ physical education and athletic programs.

Measure E is a local solution.

Measure E is a local parcel tax. These funds can only be used to support San Marino schools. It will raise stable, reliable funds for the schools for the next 6 years. It will make the schools less dependent on fluctuating and unpredictable state funding. The state cannot take them away.

This is a Mail Ballot election.

Measure E has been placed on the ballot as a mail ballot election. Every registered voter who lives within the school district, including those in the unincorporated county areas of the district, will receive a ballot beginning in early April. All ballots must be mailed and received at the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder’s office in Norwalk no later than May 5. The postmark on the ballot does not count. You will need to make sure to mail your ballot on or before April 28.

It will cost approximately $2 a day.

Approval of Measure E will create an annual cost of $795 per parcel – about $2.17 per day to preserve and protect the outstanding quality education provided to the children of the school district. This measure lasts for six years and then voters in the San Marino Unified School District can decide if it is still needed. The entire cost is deductible on state and federal taxes.

There is strict accountability.

Strict accountability is mandatory. Measure E requires that the school district be accountable to the voters of the community and that the funds are spent properly. All funds must be placed in a separate account and an annual report must be made public every year.

There is a senior exemption.

Any individual 65 or older who owns and occupies a single family home in the district is eligible for a full exemption from the cost of Measure E.

Measure E benefits everyone.

San Marino’s excellent schools have built, maintained and strengthened our property values. San Marino is the #1 unified school district in California. According to the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office, the value of homes in the San Marino school district continues to increase at a rate of 7% annually despite the economic downturn and current housing crisis. Home values in nearby communities have declined 30% or more in the last year alone.

Learn more by visiting

If you live in San Marino, how do you feel about this measure? What kind of questions do you have or would like addressed?

4 Responses to Measure E for “Excellence in Education in San Marino”
  1. Andrew Ko
    April 1, 2009 | 4:49 pm

    What kind of accountability.

    This is another taxpayer bailout without conditions. The SMUSD needs to commit to balancing the budget by year-5 of the 6 year parcel tax. Otherwise, in year 6 we will get another sad story to why we need to extend the parcel tax.

    Buying votes with a senior exemption is not ethical.

    GM’s management, employees and unions have to commit to concessions in order to get another taxpayer bailout. What are the employees, administrators and unions concessions for the parcel tax? Is each employee reducing their salaries and benefits to meet the remaining budget shortfall? Of course not. Those remaning keep their full salaries and benefits.

    As Steve Lopez wrote in the LA Times last week, length of service and not quality is the deciding factor in the layoffs of LA teachers. The same is true for SMUSD.

    Is the parcel tax required so that the good performing teachers laid off can be brought back; otherwise the quality of education will fall?

    No on Measure E.

  2. Andrew Ko
    April 1, 2009 | 4:52 pm

    Here is another district with a parcel tax that has to be extended because no root cause solution was committed to. A parcel tax is a band-aid if the school district does not commit to balancing its expenses with expected revenues.

    “In 2004, voters approved Measure E: a $98 parcel tax that generates approximately $2 million per year for the Las Virgenes Unified School District. It required a 2/3 voter approval to pass. That approval expires next year.

    On Tuesday, November 6th, voters will vote on an extension of Measure E. This time, for 8 years. Like last time, It will pass if there is 2/3 voter approval. “

  3. stacey dennis
    April 9, 2009 | 11:23 am

    My parent (senior) and I jointly own a residence in San Marino. How does Measure E apply to my situation? Exempted?


  4. irina
    April 11, 2009 | 11:40 pm

    Hi Stacey,

    Is your parent living in the San Marino home?

    There is a senior exemption for homeowners who are 65 or older. Any individual 65 or older who owns and occupies a single family home in the San Marino district is eligible for a full exemption from the cost of Measure E.

    I believe that if your parent is occupying the home, you will be able to take advantage of the exemption.

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