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Manhattan Beach Voters Approve Measure MB

Jun 06, 2018 09:55AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Manhattan Beach voters on Tuesday approved Measure MB, a proposed parcel tax to benefit Manhattan Beach public schools, with 68.32 percent of the vote. 

The $225 parcel tax is scheduled to 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.

At press time, election results showed 5,230 voting in favor and 2,425 voting against, or 68.32 percent to 31.68 percent. The measure had required a minimum 66.67 percentage "yes" vote to pass.

Measure MB proponents had been working round-the-clock to generate awareness and support, including distributing flyers, walking the neighborhoods, making phone calls, and last-minute outreach to voters.

"This is an incredible victory for our students, our teachers, our district and our community," said Measure MB co-chair Jen Fenton. "Everyone should feel so proud of what we accomplished - it was a true collaborative and a legacy that many will benefit from for years to come."

Although it is one of the top-performing school districts in the state, MBUSD 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 will 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 may be used for administrators' salaries and pensions.

Additionally, the parcel tax ensures that every penny collected would stay local and could not be collected by the state. An independent citizens' advisory board will provide oversight and mandatory audits. 

Homeowners age 65 and over are eligible for a full exemption from the parcel tax and will not have to pay. If one of the homeowners is 65 or older, the entire household is exempt. More information about the exemption and applications can be found here.

The measure will 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 like Measure MB may be used for teachers and academic programs (operation costs).

"Thanks to all of you who voted for Measure MB, and thanks to the hundreds of citizens and MBUSD employees who volunteered and supported the campaign," Manhattan Beach Unified School District Superintendent Mike Matthews wrote in an email to parents on Wednesday morning. "With a victory like this, every single vote and every single effort to get Measure MB passed made a huge difference."

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