BHUSD Sees Next Joint Powers Agreement at Same Funding Level

A majority of the Board of Education votes to keep JPA funding at $10.3 million for future budgets.

The Board of Education is counting on the city to extend the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) at its current level of $10.3 million, although formal negotiations to renew the multiyear agreement have not yet begun.

The JPA is a four-year agreement in which the city pays the Beverly Hills Unified School District for access to school facilities. The current JPA expires July 1, 2012, but BHUSD asked the city to begin negotiations for the next JPA; the district needs to plan its budget three years ahead because it must file three-year budget projections with the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

At a special board meeting Thursday, board members discussed the BHUSD budget to be voted on at the June 28 board meeting. District staff had tentatively put $9 million for the JPA revenue line for the 2012-13 school year, noting that City Treasurer Elliot Finkel has recommended cutting the next JPA to $9 million a year.

But board Vice President Brian Goldberg asked his colleagues for a vote to direct staff to keep the figure of $10.3 million for the 2012-13 budget.

“Members of the City Council are huge supporters of the JPA and there is no reason to think they would cut their support now,” he said.

Most of the board agreed, voting 4-1 to use $10.3 million for the JPA revenue line in BHUSD’s next multiyear budget. Board member Myra Lurie dissented, saying that while she hopes the next JPA stays at $10.3 million, the board shouldn’t count on the funds before the next agreement is reached.

The JPA currently represents about one-fifth of BHUSD’s annual budget, and a cut to the JPA could mean significant cuts in BHUSD school programs. Several board members have to contact City Council members directly to ask them to support maintaining the JPA at current levels.

The city averages 75 hours a day of use of BHUSD facilities, according to a recent report prepared by the Recreation and Parks Department. These uses include three city preschools that meet on school grounds, after-school enrichment classes and youth sports leagues.

Board President Lisa Korbatov, who along with Goldberg serves on the City Council-BHUSD liaison committee, had been expected to lead the negotiation on the next JPA. But she said she had asked board member Jake Manaster to take her place on the negotiation team.

“With so much on my plate, from [fighting] the subway tunneling to Measure E plans, I feel that I can’t devote the time necessary for these important negotiations,” she said. “I have asked Jake to take my place [during negotiations] and he graciously agreed.”

Mayor Barry Brucker and Vice Mayor Willie Brien represent the city on the liaison committee, and are expected to be the lead negotiators on the next JPA. As Patch has reported, an between Brucker, Brien, Korbatov and Goldberg was not very productive.

Brucker has told Patch that the next negotiation meeting for the JPA would be held before the end of June, although a date has not yet been confirmed.

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