Pasadena voters have cast their ballots and voted in favor of Measure I and Measure J. Measure I will increase the sales tax in Pasadena by 0.75 percent, bringing the rate to 10.25 percent. Measure J asks the city to allocate the sales tax revenue garnered by Measure I, projected to be $21 million, in the following manner:
- two-thirds of the revenue will go to the city’s general fund.
- one-third of the revenue will go to the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD).
Although Measure J is an advisory question and any money shared with PUSD would require a vote by the City Council, Mayor Terry Tornek has previously said he views the results of Measure J as a mandate by Pasadena voters.
By law, fund generated by Measure I are required to be spent on local needs and the city has stated that spending would be “subject to strict accountability provisions including independent audits and online release of expenditures to ensure funds are spent as promised to voters.” Those promises include street and sidewalk repairs; upgrading fire stations, bridges, and city emergency shelters; addressing homelessness; funding children and youth after-school summer, and physical fitness programs; and supporting public neighborhood schools. The latter of those promises has become increasingly urgent.
PUSD voted to close Cleveland Elementary last month and due to a drop in enrollment rates is facing “draconian cuts.” It remains to be seen if these new funds will prevent further school closures and cuts in programs.