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Frequently Asked Questions about Measure Z

  • What is Measure Z?
    Measure Z, on the March 7, 2023 ballot, will keep great teachers in Orinda classrooms and protect quality education for Orinda students. Having a great teacher in the classroom is the most important element of providing quality education. Voting YES on Z provides locally controlled funding directly to Orinda’s elementary schools and intermediate school to make Orinda schools less dependent on Sacramento for funding.
  • Why do we need Measure Z?
    Student achievement in Orinda schools ranks in the top 1% in California. However, out of over 1,000 school districts in California, Orinda Union School District consistently ranks in the bottom ten in per student funding. Orinda teachers are among the lowest paid in our area and Orinda increasingly loses qualified and experienced teachers to San Ramon and other school districts that offer more competitive compensation. Many Orinda teachers take on second or even third jobs and commute from faraway because they cannot afford to live nearby.
  • Specifically, how will Measure Z support Orinda students?
    Measure Z will be used to: Attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers Support quality academic programs in science, technology, engineering, reading, writing, arts and music Keep class sizes small
  • How much does Measure Z cost?
    Measure Z will cost property owners $295 per year or less than a dollar a day to protect quality teaching and education in Orinda. Senior citizens are eligible for an exemption from the cost.
  • How do we know Measure Z funds will be spent wisely?
    Measure Z requires mandatory strict fiscal accountability protections, including: All funds must stay local and cannot be taken away by the State An independent citizens’ oversight committee and annual audits ensure funds are spent as promised By law, no funds can be used for administrator salaries Measure Z automatically expires in seven years and cannot be renewed without voter approval Senior citizens are eligible for an exemption
  • Can the State take funds away from Measure Z?
    No. Unlike other funding sources, Measure Z is guaranteed locally controlled funding only for Orinda schools only that cannot be taken away by the State.
  • How many teachers are leaving Orinda schools?
    Last year 18 teachers left OUSD. For context there are around 20 teachers at each elementary school, so that is like losing the equivalent of a whole Del Rey or a whole Wagner Ranch worth of teachers. Over the past four years the district has lost 55 teachers, which is almost 40% of the teaching force and the trend is increasing year to year. Teachers leave for a variety of reasons and it is impossible to know exactly how many left for salary reasons. But clearly OUSD has a retention problem. Even if teachers are leaving for retirement or other careers, we still have a recruitment problem because we need to recruit qualified applicants to Orinda rather than other school districts that can offer more money.
  • I don’t have children in school; how will Measure Z benefit me?
    Whether or not you have school-age children, supporting quality local schools is a wise investment that protects our quality of life and our property values. Plus, an optional exemption is available to seniors 65 and older.
  • How long would Measure Z be in place?
    Measure Z will last for 7 years and could not be extended further without voter approval.
  • Are any exemptions available?
    Yes! Measure Z provides a full exemption from the cost of the measure for senior citizen homeowners age 65 and over. This optional exemption is available to ensure the cost of the measure is not a burden to those on fixed or limited incomes. Low-income homeowners with disabilities are also eligible for an exemption. To learn more and apply for the exemption, please visit
  • Doesn’t Orinda already have a school parcel tax?
    Yes, since 1991 local voters have supported and renewed parcel taxes to provide locally controlled funding for Orinda schools. The last parcel tax was passed in 2009 and has lost purchasing power ever since. Measure Z provides funding needed to keep great teachers in Orinda classrooms and support the core academic programs that help Orinda students excel.
  • Do other school districts have parcel tax measures like Measure Z?
    Yes, voters in Moraga, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Piedmont and other high performing school districts throughout the Bay Area have passed similar measures supporting their schools. In fact, most comparable school districts have much larger local school parcel taxes than Orinda. Voting YES on Z ensures Orinda students keep pace and are prepared to compete in high school, college and the workforce with other students. Measure Z is also a most investment to keep Orinda a desirable destination for families with school-age children, which protects our property values.
  • How many votes does Measure Z need to pass?
    In order to pass, Measure Z must be supported by 66.7% of those who cast a vote on the measure in the March election. It is critical we all take the time to vote YES in this election to protect quality education in Orinda schools.
  • Who can vote on Measure Z?
    All registered voters living within the Orinda Union School District boundaries can vote on Measure Z.
  • When can I vote YES on Measure Z?
    Measure Z will be on the March 7, 2023 ballot. All registered voters in the Orinda Union School District will receive a ballot in the mail in early February. You may cast your ballot by mail in this election, place it in a drop box like the one at City Hall or vote in-person at a designated vote center. As soon as you receive your ballot, please vote YES on Z, follow the instructions to sign and date the outer envelope and place it in the mail or deliver your ballot right away.
  • How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?
    You can register to vote at To find out more about voting in this election, please contact the Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters at (925) 335-7800 or visit
  • How can I get involved or learn more about Measure Z?
    Our campaign is a grassroots organization of parents, teachers and other community leaders dedicated to passing Measure Z for Orinda students. Some ways you can help pass Measure Z include volunteering some time to spread the word about Measure Z, displaying a YES on Z lawn sign at your home and adding your name to our list of Measure Z supporters!
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