March 3, 2020 - Measure A

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections


Novato Teacher/Academic Program Renewal Measure. To ensure quality education and protect $6,000,000 in annual school funding that cannot be taken by the State, shall Novato Unified School District’s measure be adopted to attract/retain qualified teachers; protect quality math, science, reading, writing instruction; and expand counseling, by renewing the current $251 annual parcel tax and adding $125/parcel, for eight years with inflation adjustments, senior exemptions, independent oversight, no money for administrators and all funds staying local?

YES                             NO

Votes required to pass: 2/3 voter approval
Special parcel tax for educational purposes


Impartial Analysis



If this Measure is approved by two-thirds of the votes cast on this special tax proposal, the Novato Unified School District will be authorized to levy an annual qualified special tax of $376 per parcel of taxable real property, beginning July 1, 2020, for a period of 8 years, with 3% annual increases to account for inflation. This special tax, if approved by voters, will supersede and replace the existing special tax authorized by voters as Measure A in May 2014.

The estimated revenue from this tax is approximately $6,000,000 annually. This Measure states that proceeds of the tax will be used for attracting and retaining teachers, maintaining academic, arts, and athletic programs, providing career and technical training, and expanding counseling for students. Proceeds will be controlled locally, reviewed by an independent citizen oversight committee, and subject to annual reporting.

An exemption from payment of the special tax may be granted for certain property owners aged 65 years and older as well as certain persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability or Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits.

This Measure was placed on the ballot by the Board of Trustees of the Novato Unified School District

Marin County Counsel

Argument In Favor


Vote Yes on A to renew expiring local funding that our Novato schools have relied upon since 1992.

Your YES vote protects quality education in our Novato schools. Measure A renews local school funding that is set to expire and will keep great teachers in our classrooms, maintain strong academic programs and expand mental health services to support students that are struggling.

Every penny benefits local elementary, middle and high schools and cannot be taken away by the State.

Novato Unified School District recently made deep cuts to administration and non-instructional programs. Without Measure A the NUSD will lose $4.1million in annual local funding and be forced to cut academic programs, library programs and lay off teachers.

Vote YES to protect quality education in Novato schools:

  • Attract and retain highly qualified teachers
  • Protect quality academic instruction in core subjects like math, science, reading and writing
  • Protect music, art and athletic programs that provide a well-rounded education for our kids
  • Expand mental health counseling services to support students that are struggling
  • Provide career and technical training to prepare students for 21st century job market
  • Minimize increases to class sizes

Measure A requires strict fiscal accountability:

  • Every penny must stay in Novato and cannot be taken by the State
  • No funds can be used for administrator salaries
  • Independent citizen oversight and audits ensure funds are spent properly
  • Seniors are eligible for an exemption

Protecting the quality of Novato schools means keeping qualified and experienced teachers in Novato classrooms. Measure A is essential for attracting good teachers to Novato.

Whether or not you have school-age children, supporting quality education is a wise investment. Good schools protect our quality of life and our property values.

Join parents, teachers, seniors, business leaders and our community’s most respected leaders and vote YES on A for strong Novato schools!

Marin County Superintendent of Schools

28-Year Novato Teacher

Citizen’s Oversight Committee Chair

Novato Realtor

43-Year Novato Resident

Rebuttal of Argument In Favor


NUSD hasn’t lost parcel tax dollars. The current tax doesn’t expire until July 2022.

Measure A is not just a renewal, it’s also a tax INCREASE with a 3% escalator.

You’re already paying 55% of your basic property tax for K-14 schools and community colleges. This parcel tax is on top of that base. The only way to get real relief is to support “Full and Fair Funding” which would tax millionaires instead of the middle class.

School services cannot be cut if Measure A fails. State mandates REQUIRE NUSD to provide:

  • qualified teachers
  • quality academic instruction in core subjects
  • counseling services
  • and career and technical training

Previous Parcel Tax measures used the exact same language as Measure A, yet NUSD never delivered on their promises to Teachers.

For the third year in a row, NUSD teachers protested wages that don’t even meet the state average, while NUSD’s new Superintendent received a 10% wage increase and a guaranteed 3.5% COLA for the next four years.

NUSD’s academic programs are FAILING. In 2017- 18 only 46.4% of graduating students met state college and university course admission requirements.

NUSD must make budget changes that maximize facility use, reduce consultant and administrative overhead, and provide teachers with needed classroom support.

The bottom line is that NUSD must attract more students or reduce spending. That’s how you balance a budget.

Vote NO on Measure A.

To learn more visit

Tax Watchdog

Community Activist

Concerned Taxpayer

Novato Business Owner

Retired Finance Principal

Argument Against


Promises Are Made But Not Kept

Parcel taxes have NOT maintained quality education. In 2017-18 only 46% of students scored proficient or above in Math and only 55% in English Language Arts. Even with additional funding, only 46.4% of NUSD students met California State College entrance requirements in 2017-18 compared with 50.5% in 2016-17.

Teachers Are Not A District Priority

Voters approved five previous parcel tax measures, yet teacher salaries lag behind even the state average while NUSD increases pay for its administrators.

Class Size Is Locked In

The district’s contract with the teacher’s union already guarantees lower class size.

Enrollment Declines

NUSD loses an average of 100 students yearly. Declining enrollment should mean lower costs but NUSD is NOT living within its means.

The Elephant In The Room - Pensions

Pension contributions grow larger every year. Without statewide and local reform, voters will be forced to add end-less parcel taxes.

Taxpayers Get Crushed

Parcel taxes unfairly burden homeowners and renters. Novato property tax bills already have 12 extra line items with more to come.

Enough Is Enough

55% of your basic property taxes ALREADY go to K-14 education. The average homeowner pays an additional $1000 a year for NUSD and Community College bonds. Add a new $376 parcel tax with an annual 3% increase and soon you are paying over $1500 a year on top of 55% of your basic taxes!

Say No To Redundant Taxes

The Governor increased the 2019-20 Education Budget by $3.5 billion beyond Prop. 98 funding limits, reduced Pension contributions and added more money for Special Education. NUSD’s current $4.15 million dollar parcel tax doesn’t expire until July 2022. Throwing more money

Throwing more money at NUSD won’t solve problems with curriculum, instruction, and spending.


Learn more at

Taxpayer Watchdog

Community Activist

Former Novato Finance Advisory/Oversight Committee Member

Taxpayer Watchdog

30 year Bay Area Teacher/Administrator including time with NUSD

Rebuttal of Argument Against


The opponents have their facts wrong and offer no viable alternatives to support Novato students, teachers and schools.

FACT: If Measure A doesn’t pass, cuts to teachers and academic programs will be required. Administration and non-Instructional costs have already been cut to a minimum. Additional cuts will directly impact students.

FACT: Novato schools have relied upon stable, reliable and locally-controlled parcel tax funding since 1992 and accounts for 5% of NUSD’s budget. Allowing this funding to expire only makes our local schools more dependent on Sacramento.

FACT: Novato’s local parcel tax has not increased in 10 years. The modest $125 increase ($10 per month) simply accounts for inflation and lost purchasing power over the last decade.

FACT: Costly pension obligations need to be controlled. However, these are state mandates that NUSD has no choice but to pay. Punishing Novato kids with cuts to teaching and academic programs doesn’t solve the pension problem.

FACT: Schools are funded per student. California ranks 41st in the nation in per student funding and Novato schools receive among the lowest levels of funding in the State and THE lowest in Marin. Taking funding away makes matters worse.

FACT: Novato’s school parcel tax is one of the lowest in Marin. Without Measure A, Novato schools will struggle to attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers and students will fall behind.

Don’t give up on Novato students teachers and schools. Vote YES on A and protect Novato schools.

Certified Public Accountant & Novato Citizen’s Finance Committee Chair

Parcel Tax Citizen’s Oversight Committee Member

Novato Unified Parent and Business Owner

Tour of Novato Event Chair & School Fuel Advisory Board Member

30+ Year Novato Business Owner

Full Text


Novato Teacher/Academic Program Renewal Measure

  • The Board of Trustees (“Board”) of the Novato Unified School District (“District”) has established the goals of improving academic performance and the quality of education for all children in the District so that they are prepared for college and may compete for good jobs; and
  • The District aims to enhance local control of District schools and reduce dependence on the State for education funding; and
  • By law, all funds from this local funding measure must be used to support the specified programs in District schools and cannot be taken away by the State; strict accountability, including independent citizen oversight and annual reports to ensure funds are spent as promised, will be observed, and no funds will be used for administrators’ salaries.

A. Specific Purpose of the Measure

To ensure quality education and protect $6,000,000 in annual school funding that cannot be taken by the State, the Novato Unified School District shall renew its current $251 parcel tax and add $125 per parcel for eight years, with annual inflation adjustments, for the general purpose of attracting/retaining qualified teachers; protecting quality math, science, reading, writing instruction; and expanding counseling, with senior citizen and other exemptions, independent oversight, no money for administrators and all funds staying local.

The specific purpose of the measure is to fund the following specific programs and services:

  • Maintaining quality core academic programs such as math, science, reading and writing;
  • Enhancing compensation to attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers and school employees, including counselors and coaches;
  • Avoiding significant increases in class sizes in all grades;
  • Maintaining art and library programs;
  • Preparing students for college and the 21st century job market by providing modern career and technical training;
  • Protecting music, visual and performing arts programs and athletics programs that provide a well-rounded education for Novato kids;
  • Expanding mental health counseling services to support struggling students.

B. Amount, Basis and Collection of Tax

This Measure shall authorize the Novato Unified School District (“District”) to levy a special tax of $376 per Parcel of Taxable Real Property beginning July 1, 2020, and continuing for a period of eight (8) years (through June 30, 2028). This Measure and the special tax collected hereunder shall replace the existing “Measure A” special tax, which shall cease to be collected as of July 1, 2020. Beginning on July 1, 2021, the rate of the qualified special tax shall be increased by three percent (3%) percent every year to account for inflation. The District shall annually provide the County of Marin Treasurer-Tax Collector (“County Tax Collector”) a report indicating the parcel number and amount of tax to be collected on each Parcel of Taxable Real Property.

This special tax is estimated to raise $6 million in annual local funding for District schools. The amount of annual local funding raised by this special tax may vary from year to year due to changes in the number of parcels exempted from the levy and inflationary adjustments.

To the extent allowed by law, “Parcel of Taxable Real Property” shall be defined as any unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for ad valorem property taxes from the County Tax Collector. All property that is otherwise exempt from or upon which are levied no ad valorem prope1iy taxes in any year shall not be considered a Parcel of Taxable Real Property for purposes of the special tax in such year. Subject to application by a property owner and confirmation by the District, multiple parcels which are contiguous, under common ownership, and that constitute one economic unit, meaning that they have the same primary purpose as the principal parcel and are not separate and distinct properties that may be independently developed or sold, shall comprise a single Parcel of Taxable Real Property for purposes of the special tax.

If any portion of this definition is deemed contrary to law, the Board declares and the voters by approving the Measure concur, that every other section and part of this definition has independent value, and the Board and voters would have adopted each other section and part hereof regardless of every other section or part hereof. If all sections or parts of this definition are deemed contrary to law, “Parcel of Taxable Real Property” shall be defined as any real property in the District assigned an assessor’s parcel number.

C. Exemptions

Upon application and pursuant to any procedures adopted by the District, an exemption from payment of the special tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons who are:

  1. Sixty-five years of age or over and who occupies said parcel as a principal residence (“Senior Citizen Exemption”); or
  2. Receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age, and who occupies said parcel as a principal residence (“SSI Exemption”); or
  3. Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, whose yearly income does not exceed 250 percent of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and who occupies said parcel as a principal residence (“SSDI Exemption”).

Exemptions may be granted based on a one-time application, and exemptions granted under prior measures levied by the District will not require re-approval, subject to the District’s right to verify a property owner’s continuing qualification for exemption.

D. Claims / Exemption Procedures

With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the County Tax Collector or other appropriate County tax official shall make all final determinations of tax exemption or relief for any reason, and that decision shall be final and binding. With respect to matters specific to the levy of the tax, including the Senior Citizen Exemption, SSI Exemption, SSDI Exemption, the application of the definition of “Parcel of Taxable Property” to any parcel(s), the legality or validity of the special tax, or any other disputed matter specific to the application of the special tax, the decisions of the District shall be final and binding. The procedures described herein, and any additional procedures established by the Board shall be the exclusive claims procedure for claimants seeking an exemption, refund, reduction, or re-computation of the special tax. Whether any particular claim is to be resolved by the District or by the County shall be determined by the District, in coordination with the County as necessary.

E. Accountability Provisions

  1. Independent Citizens Oversight Committee. The Board shall provide for an independent citizen oversight committee to oversee the special taxes collected pursuant to the Measure to ensure that moneys raised under this Measure are spent only for the purposes described in this Measure. The Board shall establish, and may revise, requirements regarding the composition, duties, funding, and other necessary information regarding the committee’s operation and shall have the option to extend the existing parcel tax or other independent citizen oversight committee and its membership to serve as the independent citizen oversight committee for this Measure.
  2. Annual Audit. Upon the levy and collection of this special tax, the Board shall cause an account to be established for deposit of the proceeds. For so long as any proceeds of the special account remain unexpended, the Superintendent or chief business official of the District shall cause a report to be filed with the Board no later than December 31 of each year, commencing December 31, after the tax is first levied, stating (1) the amount of funds collected and expended in such year, and (2) the status of any projects or description of any programs funded from the proceeds of the tax. The report may relate to the calendar year, fiscal year, or other appropriate annual period, as the Superintendent shall determine, and may be incorporated into or filed with the annual budget, audit, or other appropriate routine report to the Board.
  3. Specific Purposes. Proceeds of the special tax shall be applied only for the purposes described in Section A here of. Decisions regarding the specific programs, schools, sites and expenditures to be supported in any given year, and the timing, priority and method of allocation of funds, shall be made by the Board in its sole discretion and may vary from year to year as needs arise or change.

F. Appropriations Limit

Pursuant to California Constitution Article XIIIB and applicable laws, the appropriations limit for the District will be adjusted periodically by the aggregate sum collected by levy of this special tax. This provision shall be deemed to be declaratory of existing procedures governing District expenditures.

G. Protection of Funding

Current law forbids any decrease in State or federal funding to the District resulting from the adoption of a special tax. However, if any such funding is reduced or affected because of the adoption of this local funding measure, then the Board may reduce the amount of the special taxes levied as necessary in order to restore such State or federal funding and/or maximize the District’s fiscal position for the benefit of the educational program. As a result, whether directly or indirectly, no funding from this measure may be taken away by the State or federal governments.

H. Severability

The Board hereby declares, and the voters by approving this measure concur, that every section, paragraph, sentence and clause of this measure has independent value, and the Board and the voters would have adopted each provision hereof regardless of every other provision hereof. Upon approval of this measure by the voters, should any part be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, all remaining parts hereof shall remain in full force and effect to the fullest extent allowed by law.