Measure MB Before Manhattan Beach Voters
Jun 03, 2018 12:07PM
● By Jeanne Fratello
Voters will head to the polls this Tuesday, June 5, to weigh in on Measure MB, a proposed parcel tax to benefit Manhattan Beach public schools.
The $225 parcel tax would raise $2.6 million per year for the next six years for Manhattan Beach schools to compensate for low state funding levels and avoid cuts and layoffs. The measure will require a 66.67 percentage "yes" vote to pass.
Measure MB proponents have been working round-the-clock to generate awareness and support.
"Thanks to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, community leaders, and our incredible volunteers who have gone door-to-door speaking to voters about Measure MB, the majority of residents understand the budget challenges our schools face in Manhattan Beach and the need for a locally-controlled funding source," said Jen Fenton, the co-chair of the Measure MB Executive Committee. "Our focus now is overcoming voter apathy. We’re working hard to get everyone to the polls on June 5."
Fenton added, "These local measures can be decided by as few as 100 votes, so each vote is absolutely critical."
Although it is one of the top-performing school districts in the state, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District receives the second lowest amount of school funding among districts in the state - nearly $2,000 less per student each year than the state average.
Additionally, Manhattan Beach is one of only a few of the top-ranked districts in the state that does not receive locally controlled funding from a voter-approved school parcel tax. By comparison, school funding may be as much as $5,000 less per student each year compared to districts such as San Marino, Palo Alto, and Santa Monica-Malibu.
The funding would generate approximately $2.6 million per year to be used toward retaining high-quality teachers and preserving smaller class sizes; protecting math, science, reading, social studies, language, art, and music programs; preserving advanced programs in science, technology, engineering, and math; providing adequate instructional materials and supplies; and preparing students for college and career. No funds would be used for administrators' salaries and pensions.
Additionally, the parcel tax would ensure that every penny collected would stay local and could not be collected by the state. An independent citizens' advisory board would provide oversight and mandatory audits.
Homeowners age 65 and over would be eligible for a full exemption from the parcel tax and would not have to pay. If one of the homeowners is 65 or older, the entire household is exempt. More information about the exemption can be found here.
If approved, the measure would be in place for six years, until and unless 66.67 percent of voters vote to renew it for another term.
In 2016, Manhattan Beach voters approved two local school facility improvement measures (Measures C and EE – one for elementary sites and the other for the high school athletics facility) to improve classrooms and structures that were outdated and in need of upgrades to meet 21st-century learning standards.
However, bond measures can only fund facility upgrades and improvements and cannot be used for operating costs or programs, while parcel taxes may be used for teachers and academic programs (operation costs).
There is currently no formal or organized opposition to Measure MB, although the measure has generated debate in local online discussion groups and newspaper forums.