The president of the Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education has said he will vote against a board proposal for raising the Measure E tax rate.
“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,” board President Brian Goldberg said in an email to constituents last week.
The board majority last month directed staff to finalize a proposal to increase the Measure E tax rate because the existing $334 million bond plan will not fund renovations at all five city schools. Raising the rate would get BHUSD more bond money sooner. Goldberg and board member Lewis Hall did not support the directive.
When Measure E was approved in 2008, voters were promised a tax rate of $49.71 per $100,000 of assessed property value. The board discovered last year, however, that the original Measure E bond sale schedule was not viable, and earlier this year the board directed staff to devise a way to fund the planned Measure E renovations. Working with the district's bond consultant Keygent Advisors, staff recommended that the board raise the Measure E rate to $114 per $100,000 value, the maximum rate allowed under Proposition 39.
Goldberg was on the board in 2008 when Measure E was passed by the community. However, he abstained during the vote to put the measure on the ballot and only supported Measure E after it was put on the ballot.
“Once the board took action, I supported the passage predicated on no raise in the special tax rate associated with the passage of Measure E,” Goldberg said in his email. “In hindsight, that was an unrealistic promise, but a promise I helped to promote” and hence one that he will not break, he added.
The board is planning to hold a town hall meeting next month to discuss the reasons behind its plan to accelerate the bond rate. Member Noah Margo has been tasked with leading outreach to the community.
“It will be an informational campaign discussing both the pros and cons of raising the rate,” Margo told Patch last month. “We want to present the community with all of the facts.”
The board will not take a final vote on increasing the bond tax rate until this outreach takes place. It is unclear if Goldberg’s stance against acceleration will sway any of his colleagues to change their initial support of the higher rate.