Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Das Williams Introduces Bill To Protect Local School District Funding

Assemblymember Das Williams recently introduced a piece of district-specific legislation that would allow Santa Barbara schools to continue receiving voter-approved parcel revenues once a move to unify the elementary and secondary school districts is complete.

Assembly Bill 504 would also allow voters to approve the renewal of such revenue extensions upon unification.

“This bill would allow Santa Barbara School Districts to keep current revenues if they unify in an effort to increase funding. That means that the district would receive $6 million more per year, which will prevent cuts that would hurt our kids,” Williams said.

“AB 504 would extend a revenue source for the SBSD that would otherwise have to continue to make cuts. This piece of legislation preserves the will of voters, who supported the school districts with more than 70 percent approval in 2008.”

Over the last 3 years, the Santa Barbara School Districts have made more than $20 million in budget cuts and are faced with making more cuts this fiscal year. They are already moving forward with a plan to unify their Elementary and Secondary school districts based on a study that shows the unification will generate approximately $6 million annual additional revenue, according to school district officials.
Without clarifying legislation, the unification could result in the nullification of their two parcel tax measures, which are used to support programs like music, art, math and technology.

To avoid the potential loss of that revenue stream for the school district, Assembly Bill 504 would authorize the new unified school district to continue to collect the voter approved parcel taxes once their former districts are merged out of existence

This legislation is imperative for the future success of our schools in Santa Barbara,” said Dr. Brian Sarvis, Superintendent of Santa Barbara School Districts.

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