The Santa Monica City Council has joined the group of supporters of Measure A, a parcel tax measure on the May 25th mail-in ballot that would provide funding to local schools.

The City Council voted March 23rd to endorse the ballot measure that Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials say will help close an anticipated $14 million shortfall. The district has faced a loss of $10 million in state funding over the last two years and more state budget cuts are expected this year.

If approved, Measure A, which calls for a $198 annual tax per parcel, would provide approximately $5.7 million to the district to help tighten the budget gap. The tax would expire in five years and provide an exemption for senior citizen homeowners. The measure must be approved by two-thirds of voters in order to take effect.

“We are fortunate to have excellent public schools, but state budget cuts will erode years of investment and improvement if we don’t pass Measure A and provide reliable local funding for education. Santa Monica and Malibu are working together for our schools, for our children and our future,” Santa Monica City Councilwoman Gleam Davis said in offering her support.

The measure was also recently endorsed by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Malibu City Council and the group Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS).

Members of CEPS say that Measure A represents the best opportunity to provide stable local funding that can directly benefit students.

District officials have acknowledged that even with the parcel tax measure, significant budget cuts would need to be made to maintain the quality of education. The Board of Education announced the loss of up to 75 of its 580 teachers unless Measure A passes.

The measure includes independent oversight by a citizens financial oversight committee, with annual audits and public reporting. No funds can be used for administration, and all funds would remain in Santa Monica-Malibu local schools.