The Beverly Hills Unified School District is holding a town hall meeting Tuesday at Beverly Vista School to discuss its plan to possibly more than double the city’s Measure E bond tax rate. The five members of the Board of Education are expected to attend to answer questions, as will BHUSD staff.
The meeting, which takes place at 7 p.m. in the auditorium, aims to explain “…the pending maintenance and construction issues facing our schools in order to inform the community about the district’s plans to expedite the current bond known as Measure E,” the district said in a news release.
The $334 million Measure E bond was passed by voters in November 2008 to raise funds to modernize all five of the city’s schools. At that time, BHUSD officials promised that residents’ bond tax rate would stay under $50 per $100,000 of assessed value.
The original Measure E plan called for four series of bond sales to take place between 2009 and 2018. But BHUSD bond consultants Keygent Advisors reported in 2011 that such a plan was no longer viable because the original assessed value of Beverly Hills property turned out to be inflated. If the original Measure E schedule was not changed, the district would not be able to raise the full $334 million until 2030.
Working with Keygent, BHUSD staff last year recommended that the board raise the Measure E rate to $114 per $100,000 value, the maximum rate allowed under Proposition 39. Raising the rate would also involve accelerating the planned bond sales.
Board member Brian Goldberg announced in September that he would vote against the proposal.
“Even though I understand the rationale for accelerating the bond sales by raising the tax rate, I did not and will not support raising the tax rate for the Measure E bond program,” he said in an email to constituents.
Board member Lewis Hall also said he did not support accelerating the bond. However, a board majority of President Jake Manaster, Vice President Noah Margo and member Lisa Korbatov have said that they support the acceleration plan.
The BHUSD has raised about $72 million so far through Measure E bond sales, although the only Measure E construction to commence has been the current rebuilding of the Horace Mann auditorium. Given the limited track record of renovation, some residents, such as Patch blogger Damien Bean, have said they oppose any plans to accelerate the bond sales.
For more information about Measure E bond sales, click on this link to the BHUSD website, or search Beverly Hills Patch for Measure E stories.