San Marino voters on Tuesday approved the renewal of Measure R, a parcel tax that brings $1.6 million annually to the San Marino Unified School District. Titled Measure R–for “renewal”–the tax directly supports 13.4 “instructional and instructional support positions,” according to information provided by the SMUSD.
A group of about a dozen citizens gathered at the district office Tuesday night as the results were made available at about 8:15 p.m.
“Did we win?” said Nam Jack, a former San Marino School Board Member, who in November agreed to chair Citizens for San Marino Schools, the grassroots campaign to help pass the parcel tax, as data appeared on a long-dormant television screen in the office of Superintendent Loren Kleinrock.
She didn’t have to wait long for the answer, as Measure R received 1,562 affirmative votes (69.12%) while 698 voters (30.88%) opposed the measure. The parcel tax needed 66% to pass and just 2,260 of the 9,569 registered voters who live within SMUSD boundaries returned ballots in the mail-in election.
Measure R was first passed in 1991. The current annual assessment per parcel is $366.40. The assessment is adjusted annually by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Statistical Area Consumer Price Index for a six-year term for those parcels located within the boundaries of the San Marino Unified School District. Before Tuesday’s vote, the parcel tax was most recently renewed in March, 2013 when it received 71.6% of the vote.
“I would like to thank each and everyone who helped with the passage of this measure and everyone who voted ‘yes’ to renew a parcel tax that has been in existence since 1991,” Jack told The Tribune. “It truly is a win-win for everyone. Parents can be assured of a stable source of funding so the District can continue to provide the highest quality education, which in turn helps our community maintain our high property values. For those who may be on a fixed income, specifically seniors and homeowners with disabilities, there is an exemption.”
Jack and her committee touted the parcel tax’s cost of just $1 per to justify its support, especially when compared to the shortfall that would be caused by its failure.
School Board President Lisa Link is pleased that she didn’t have to add that to her already full to-do list.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, we are very grateful to the San Marino community for its continued financial support of the District and its students,”
Link said Wednesday morning. “With the renewal of the Measure R parcel tax, San Marino voters affirmed that they value the 13.4 instructional and enrichment positions that lower class sizes and provide enhanced educational opportunities for our students in the areas of instruction, counseling, libraries and technology. The Board is also extremely appreciative of the leadership of our former colleague, Nam Jack, and the efforts of her hard working team of Citizens for San Marino Schools volunteers and supporters.”
The district currently receives additional funding from a second parcel tax, Measure E, which will come before voters for renewal in the Spring of 2021. First approved by voters in 2009, Measure E generates $4.1 million annually from residents of San Marino and the San Marino Unified School District at a current rate of $924 per parcel, funding 33 positions at the SMUSD.