The Board of Education is expected at its Tuesday meeting to drop plans to put a parcel tax on the March 2013 ballot. Instead it will likely seek a city-wide special election on the parcel tax next June.
“I am OK delaying,” board President Brian Goldberg said about postponing the parcel tax. He has been the chief proponent of such a tax, saying it would reduce the Beverly Hills Unified School District’s dependence on state funds. The board is already preparing for $3.5 million in potential programing cuts for the 2013-14 school year in anticipation of reduced state funding.
“People must understand that as long as we are on the state’s dime for any money, we are at their whim,” Goldberg said. “Parcel tax money is raised locally and stays local.”
The board voted 3-2 at its Nov. 13 meeting to direct district staff to prepare a parcel tax of not more than $499 for the March ballot, with a final vote on its approval for the ballot scheduled for Tuesday’s board meeting. But recent news that the city has a budget surplus and may give funds to the school district has reduced some of the urgency for the tax.
Another factor behind the expected parcel tax delay, sources tell Patch, is the realization that California tax laws may change now that Democrats hold a two-thirds majority in both the Assembly and the State Senate. The Nov. 5 elections gave Democrats a supermajority in both houses for the first time in more than 100 years.
Under current law, a parcel tax must pass by a two-thirds majority of voters. But Democratic lawmakers may reduce the majority needed to pass a parcel tax. A Nov. 13 column in The Sacramento Bee predicts that California legislators will cut the parcel tax passage requirement to 55 percent of voters.
The agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting includes a discussion and possible vote on placing a parcel tax on the March ballot. It is not clear if the board will still hold a vote, although it is expected there will be discussion on the topic.