March 7, 2023 - Voter Information Guide 02

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

Novato Unified School District
Tuesday, March 7, 2023


Vote by Mail or Vote In Person

  • A ballot is mailed to all voters. Return it by mail, official Drop Box, or at a Vote Center.
  • Vote in person at Homestead Valley Community Center or any Vote Center. See our List of Vote Center locations for days and hours of operation.
  • The Marin County Elections Department is open for voting services starting Monday, February 6.
  • Information about Vote Center locations and Drop Box locations is posted on our website.

If you prefer, download a PDF version of the March 7, 2023 - Special Election Voter Information Guide.

Open All Panels



Vote By Mail

Vote by Mail

Drop Box

Official Ballot Drop Box Locations

Open February 7 to March 7 until 8:00 p.m.

Drop Boxes close precisely at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day as required by law

Exterior sites available for 24 hour drop off, see our List of Drop Box Locations.

In-Person Voting

In-Person Voting

Vote at a Vote Center or the Elections Department if you need a replacement ballot, did not register by the February 20 deadline, or prefer to vote in person or on an accessible ballot marking device. Voting is accessible at all locations.

AVOID LINES - Vote early or vote by mail

  • You may vote in person at any Voter Center location
  • See our List of Vote Centers for most recent Vote Center information, including hours of operation
  • Official Ballot Drop Boxes also at all Voter Center locations
  • Election Day March 7, Vote Centers and Elections Dept. open 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Measure Information

Arguments in "support of" or in "opposition to" the proposed laws are the opinions of the authors.

Measure A - Novato Unified School District

To protect quality education without increasing tax rates by renewing expiring local funding that cannot be taken by the State; maintain quality core academic instruction in math, science, reading/writing; protect funding for teachers; and preserve music/art programs, shall Novato Unified School District’s measure be adopted renewing the existing $251 parcel tax at the current rate, providing $4,000,000 annually for 8 years, with senior exemptions, independent oversight, no funds for administration and all funding for Novato students?

YES                             NO

Special Tax: 2/3 voter approval required to pass



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

    The existing Novato Unified School District parcel tax is set to expire on June 30, 2023. If this Measure is approved by two-thirds of the votes cast on this special tax proposal, the existing Novato Unified School District parcel tax will be extended with a parcel tax of $251 per year per assessor’s parcel for a period of eight years beginning July 1, 2023, and expiring June 30, 2031. The Novato Unified School District Board of Trustees estimates revenue from this Measure will be approximately $4 million dollars annually.

    An exemption from this special tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons who is occupying said parcel as their principal place of residence and is: (1) 65 years of age or older; (2) receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability regardless of age; or (3) receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits regardless of age and meets specific income guidelines from the federal government.

    The stated purposes for the funds raised by this special tax are to support academic programs; attract and retain teachers and employees; avoid significant increases in class sizes; maintain music, visual and performing arts, library, and athletics programs; provide career and technical training; and expand mental health counseling services.

    Pursuant to the California Constitution Article XIII B and applicable laws, the appropriations limit for the District will be adjusted periodically by the aggregate sum collected by levy of this qualified special tax.

    Marin County Counsel


    Vote YES on A to renew local funding for quality education in Novato schools without increasing taxes.

    For 30 years, the Novato Unified School District has relied on stable, locally controlled funding approved by voters to support quality teaching and core academic programs. However, this critical source of funding will expire in June 2023.

    Novato is the second lowest funded school district in Marin County. Without Measure A, Novato schools will lose over $4 million in annual funding, resulting in reductions to teachers, counselors, coaches, art and library programs. These cuts would be on top of over $4 million in cuts made in 2022.

    Voting Yes on A renews local school funding to maintain high quality academic programs and ensure Novato students have access to the same quality education as students in neighboring communities.

    Without increasing taxes, Measure A will:

    • Maintain quality education in core subjects: math, science, reading and writing
    • Support quality teaching
    • Preserve music and arts programs
    • Provide academic, college, career and mental health counseling for all students
    • Support library staff and operating hours

    Every penny stays in Novato:

    • Measure A funds must be used to support Novato elementary, middle and high schools and cannot be taken by the State
    • By law, funds cannot be used for administrator salaries or pensions
    • An independent citizens’ oversight committee, annual audits, and public disclosure of all spending ensures all funds are spent as promised
    • Senior Citizens continue to be eligible for a full exemption from the cost

    Whether or not you have school-aged children, supporting quality local schools is an essential investment that protects property values, our quality of life and supports future generations.

    Join parents, teachers, seniors, longtime residents, business and community leaders — vote YES on A to protect quality education in Novato schools without increasing taxes.

    Marin County Supervisor, Former Novato Mayor

    Former Marin County Superintendent of Schools

    Novato Councilmember, Former Mayor, 50+ Year Novato Resident

    30+ Year Community Business Owner

    Retired 30-Year Novato Teacher, 2019 Marin County Teacher of the Year, Former NUSD Parent, Current NUSD Grandparent


    No argument against Measure A was filed.



    Protecting Quality Education Measure


    Thanks to excellent teachers, challenging academic programs and strong support from the community, Novato Unified School District’s (the “District”) award-winning schools provide an innovative and effective education to meet individual student needs.

    The District’s excellent teachers and school employees are committed to ensuring all students possess the academic and job skills required to succeed in college and future careers.

    The District is dependent on the State of California (the “State”) for approximately 70% of its funding, which comes from the State’s Local Control Funding Formula. The State ranks 36th of 50 states in funding for public education and the District receives the second lowest per student funding in Marin County (the “County”). Despite joining with other underfunded school districts to lobby for increased funding, the District’s state funding continues to be determined by a State formula and is unlikely to change.

    Over 80% of District expenditures go to employing teachers, principals, counselors, specialists and other school employees and the remainder of the budget is spent on technology, books, instructional materials, supplies, equipment, school maintenance and other services to support students, teachers and staff. District teachers and staff are among the lowest paid in the County and Sonoma County and, as a result, the District loses current teachers and new recruits to other school districts that can offer more competitive compensation and benefits.

    The District Board of Trustees (the “Board”) believes that having a great teacher in the classroom is the most important element of providing a quality education and qualified and experienced teachers help District schools maintain high-quality core academic programs in science, technology, engineering, reading, writing, arts and music. The District has taken many steps to balance its budget including making over $4 million in ongoing annual cuts last school year.

    Since first approved by local voters in 1992, funding from the District’s voter-approved parcel tax has been crucial for maintaining high quality academic programs and retaining highly qualified teachers and school employees.

    Unless renewed by two-thirds of local voters, the District’s parcel tax funding expires June 30, 2023 and an additional $4 million in annual ongoing budget cuts will be required on top of cuts that have already occurred. The District’s parcel tax currently pays for 11 teachers, academic guidance counselors, libraries, athletic programs and music programs and these teachers, counselors and programs will be at risk if the parcel tax funding expires. The District’s parcel tax rate is $251 per parcel annually, the second lowest in the County and unlike other school parcel taxes in the County, the District’s parcel tax does not include annual inflation adjustments and has lost purchasing power since last increased in 2009. If parcel tax funding is not renewed by voters and expires next year, the District would have to make an additional $4 million in cuts that could include reducing academic programs, athletic programs, library personnel and laying off teachers.

    The Board believes that the District’s local parcel tax must be renewed at the current rate, without increasing the tax rate, to protect quality education available to local students.

    Funding from a renewed school parcel tax must be controlled locally and cannot be taken away by the State. The proposed school parcel tax renewal measure is temporary, will automatically expire in eight years and cannot be renewed without voter approval. The proposed parcel tax measure includes an exemption for seniors and low-income people with disabilities, the only exemptions allowed by law, and are designed to ensure the cost is not a burden to those on fixed incomes. The proposed parcel tax measure requires fiscal accountability protections including an independent citizens’ oversight committee, annual audits and mandatory public disclosure to provide transparency and ensure funds are spent as promised.


    A. Specific Purpose of the Measure

    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;
    • Protect and maintain funding for 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 $251 per Parcel of Taxable Real Property beginning July 1, 2023, and continuing for a period of eight (8) years (through June 30, 2031). This Measure and the special tax collected hereunder shall replace the existing “Measure A” special tax, which shall cease to be collected as of June 30, 2023. 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 $4 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.

    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 property 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 reapproval, 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 hereof. 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.

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