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BHUSD to Lease Home to Superintendent for Below-Market Rate

The school board is expected to vote Wednesday at a special meeting to approve a $3,500/month rental agreement.

The Board of Education plans to lease the to Superintendent Gary Woods for $3,500 a month, considerably less than the Beverly Hills Unified School District could obtain for rent on the open market.

“We figured we will pay $468,992 in interest over the 15-year life of the loan, which works out to about $31,266 a year,” board President Brian Goldberg told Patch. “The current rent—which could increase in the future—more than pays for that, and we benefit because the home is an asset for the district.” 

Goldberg acknowledged that BHUSD could get $1,000 to $2,000 more a month in rent if the home was publicly listed. Some board members have said they hope such a lease can help attract and maintain top superintendents, a district post that has changed numerous times over the past decade.

The board will vote on the proposed lease at a special meeting June 25 at 4 p.m. in the . The one-year lease, which is posted on the district’s website, would start Aug. 15, 2012.

The board voted unanimously at its June 26 meeting to purchase the two-level, 2,665-square-foot house at 220 N. Doheny Drive for $1.54 million. The home has four bedrooms, five bathrooms and sits on a 5,750-square-foot lot. The BHUSD expects to acquire the home around July 31, according to the lease. As a public entity, the district is excused from having to pay property taxes. 

The home will be 100 percent financed through a zero-down, 15-year municipal loan at a fixed annual interest rate of 3.7 percent. The financing will cost the district $140,000 a year, according to a statement on the BHUSD website from Chief Administrative Officer Dawnalyn Murakawa-Leopard. 

Murakawa-Leopard and Goldberg are both named on the lease as representatives of the landlord.

“Tenant Dr. Gary W. Woods is currently employed as the superintendent...the premises are being made available for lease to tenant in connection with such employment,” the agreement states. “Expiration or termination of such employment will be the basis for termination of this lease.”

The decision to buy the home has been criticized by former board member Myra Lurie and former BHUSD Finance Committee member . Finance Committee Chairman Herb Young told Patch  that the board should have been more transparent with its intentions concerning the purchase.

Although the Finance Committee was created to assist the district with financial matters, “the committee is advisory” and cannot direct the board, Goldberg said.

To view photos of 220 N. Doheny Drive, click .

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Joan Weller July 24, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Let me get this straight. They bought a house for the Super in secret without telling anyone and are now going to spend an extra $98,000 every year from the classroom budget to cover their losses. Why not just give the man a couple of thousand a month as part of his next contract and keep the kids' money where it belongs to hire teachers, buy computers and fix the horrible math teaching that keeps our kids from succeeding in school? Or would they just waste the cash on more lobbyists?
DoughBoy July 24, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Maybe this is a good investment and sound policy, but something sure seems odd about how it came about. If the school superindendent is so good (is he?) that he can demand and receive this nice perk, then why not present it to the public in that light? If he would leave the district so quickly over the absence of a below-market housing perk, then I'm not so sure he's as committed to BH as the school board members would like to think. People looking for an excuse to leave and use BH as a stepping stone will find one reason or another... Housing perks, lawsuits, consulting studies -- can we start spending more taxpayer money IN the classroom, please!
Tom Culp July 25, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Damn I live near there and I'm paying $10,000 a month for a four bedroom three bath. So tell me, the money the district looses each month from a lower rate is it part of the supers salary? Surely he will have to pay tax on that. Also how much of that goes to property tax? does the school pay for the tax, insurance, maintenance?
Tom Culp July 25, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Has anyone noticed that Mr. Goldberg has not chimed in for awhile? Another paper said he wont even return their phone calls and no new quotes in the patch. I wonder if those high paid lawyers told him to keep quite? Seems very strange to me when there is a question of wrong doings surrounding this house.
Laurie Lande July 25, 2012 at 04:09 PM
@Tom - As the story noted, the school district is exempt from paying taxes on the property, and there is no transfer tax at closing. But yes BHUSD will have to pay for basic insurance and maintenance. Several readers have asked me if the super will have to pay taxes on the rental break - I think he will but that is his responsibility and not the district's.
Tom Culp July 25, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Thanks Laurie, Let me restate that question. If no one is paying the property tax then that's even less money that should be paying back the measure E fund correct? That's a double whammy.
Abe S. July 25, 2012 at 11:28 PM
As a Basic Aid district, BHUSD keeps the money from local property taxes. Losing the property tax on a $1.5 Million house will result in about a $15,000 annual loss in property tax. Has this revenue loss been calculated as part of the annual cost of this property? Probably not.....

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