The Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education voted narrowly this week to adopt a resolution opposing Measure J, the November ballot initiative seeking a to accelerate local transportation improvement projects.
Measure J is an extension of Measure R—the sales tax increase voters approved in 2008. Measure R funds the construction and operation of a specified list of Metropolitan Transportation Authority projects, including the and Gold Line Extension. The sales tax increase is already set to last until 2039, raising a projected $40 billion in that time period. Approval of Measure J would extend the tax until 2069.
Three of the five BHUSD board members voted at the Sept. 11 school board meeting to oppose Measure J. Board Vice President Jake Manaster and member Noah Margo abstained from the vote.
“Our resolution is designed to send a signal to the MTA letting them know how much we oppose running the subway extension under and how their reckless spending has undermined our confidence in their ability to manage taxpayer funds," board President Brian Goldberg told Patch.
Board members Lisa Korbatov and Lewis Hall joined Goldberg in voting to oppose the ballot measure.
Manaster and Margo both said that while they vigorously oppose Metro’s plans to tunnel under BHHS, they did not believe it was appropriate for BHUSD to endorse or oppose ballot measures. They noted that school boards are banned by law from endorsing candidates for public office.
Goldberg, Korbatov and Hall disagreed. All three said they believed it was their duty to take a position on a measure that has an impact on education issues.
Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) wrote Measure J. Click here to see its exact wording.
The Measure J extension will enable Metro to continue collecting funds to “bond against” future revenue from the Measure R tax, meaning the agency can estimate the anticipated amount of revenue, sell that amount in bonds to receive the revenue quickly and then pay back bond holders when the money from the sales tax is collected.
Do you support Measure J? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.