“We’ve spent our careers explaining that public education is chronically underfunded. Enough is enough. For the first time in my career, and in yours, we are on an offense against under-funding. Measure EE, on the local ballot on June 4, is our groundbreaking vehicle that would bring $500 million in new ongoing money to our schools.”
–Alex Caputo-Pearl, President UTLA
A special election is around the corner, June 4, with mail-in ballots already coming in. This election is special because for us, in Topanga, there is only one item on the ballot, Measure EE. This measure is designed to help our neighborhood schools and is part of the solution to a public education funding crisis brought to light by the recent UTLA (teacher’s) strike. Teachers marched by the thousands, joined by parents, students and community members to demand funding for our public schools.
In a joining of forces, Measure EE is supported by both the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA). Why? Because this small parcel tax will provide the funding needed to both attract and retain quality teachers, counselors, school nurses, librarians, support staff, and principals, and will help to lower class size.
WHY VOTE? Funding for education in California ranks 44th in per pupil spending in the United States despite a robust economy, which impacts not only our students and school personal, but our communities. Educated students contribute to our communities and safe, well-funded schools provide not only an education for our students, but a safe haven from the challenges and stress that many of our children are experiencing.
WHY VOTE? Monies raised by Measure EE will be managed with strict accountability and all monies will be used to support local schools. Measure EE guarantees public oversight and ensures that all money will be spent as promised with monitoring by this public oversight.
WHY VOTE? Measure EE monies will be used to provide safe, secure, clean, and well-maintained schools. Additionally, Measure EE will provide a school nurse on every elementary school campus, every day. Right now, Topanga Elementary School has a nurse only on Fridays and this does not provide adequate care for our students who have health concerns, get hurt on the playground, need monitoring to ensure up-to-date vaccines, and to monitor medication for students. We are also in desperate need of counseling for our students to address mental health and to help students suffering from trauma. This Measure will provide monies to support the special needs of our students who face homelessness, are in foster care, and our students who are disadvantaged.
WHY VOTE? We are voting not only to support our local school, Topanga Elementary Charter School, but also to support all of the schools in the LAUSD. This city is large and diverse as we were reminded during the teacher’s strike. We are a city that must look out for all of our citizens and the realization that providing a quality education in all of our schools helps to ensure the future for all of us. When we create a well-educated workforce, we help to ensure a strong economy for our future. Programs funded with the monies from Measure EE will help to invest in quality academic programs including the traditional language arts, math, and science, as well as technology, arts, and vocational education. Monies will be spent for quality preschool programs supporting our youngest and most vulnerable learners.
WHY VOTE? Measure EE will cost something, of course. Property owners will pay an additional 16 cents per square foot on buildings that they currently pay property taxes on. Exemptions are provided for land, residential, and commercial parking garages and small outbuildings. There are also exemptions for property owners over 65 and for some with disabilities. The cost for a homeowner would be $160 per year for a 1,000-square-foot house. I am a property owner and my own house is a little over 1,300 square feet. I will be paying around $200 per year for this Measure, a little over 50 cents per day. I believe that to obtain the benefits for our public schools, this fifty cents is absolutely worth it!
WHY VOTE? We are all creators of our future and our future depends on the students currently being educated in our public schools. They will be the workers and decision makers of the future and eventually will be taking care of us. Public schools can be the great equalizers, giving all students the chance to become the adults of their dreams, creating a vibrant, successful local economy. This measure expires in 12 years, but just think how much could be done during those 12 years to support students, ensure safe schools, provide arts, and academic opportunities. Providing emotional, mental, and physical support for our students can impact not only their future, but ours as well. We want clean, safe, productive cities with citizens who live life with the purpose of contributing, giving back, and creating.