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School Board to Consider Parcel Tax

Board President Brian Goldberg is “floating the idea” of a parcel tax.

The Board of Education may ask the community to vote on a parcel tax as a step towards making the school district financially self-sufficient.

“Local parcel taxes provide one way—and perhaps the only way—to provide secure, enhanced funding for soft costs, including teacher salaries, books, materials and supplies,” board President said this week in an email to constituents. “By approving a parcel tax, we would control the funds rather than depend on the governor's tax initiative, which allows the state to dictate how the funds are used.”

The email, which discussed various ways to make the district more financially secure, was sent in advance of Tuesday’s board meeting. The parcel tax is on the board’s so-called “parking lot agenda” of items to discuss as time permits, but with two board members missing this week Goldberg elected not to start the discussion.

Under California law, a parcel tax must pass by at least a two-thirds majority. Beverly Hills voters have rejected a parcel tax three times between 1987 and 1991, although in 1990 the measure lost by less than 10 votes.

Under Goldberg’s proposal, the ballot language would specify that at least half the proceeds from the tax be directed towards a permanent endowment for the Beverly Hills Unified School District. He would also exempt seniors from paying the tax.

Goldberg told Patch that he is “floating the idea” of a parcel tax, not proposing one yet. It is unclear if the City Council would support putting such a measure on next year’s ballot.

The tax is one of several ideas Goldberg offered to fund $10 million of the BHUSD’s current $52 million budget. He arrived at that figure because the district already receives about $42 million a year from two major sources—as a district, BHUSD keeps its share of local property taxes, totaling around $32 million, and the district gets $9.7 million a year through the with the city. 

The district gets much of the remainder of its budget from the state and federal government, which can impose sudden cuts if state finances deteriorate. Last year, for example, a state cut on funds for basic aid school districts prompted the Beverly Hills Education Foundation to start the , which ultimately raised about $750,000 to help pay teacher salaries.  

Goldberg’s email proposed other ways to raise the $10 million, such as joint development with the city of Beverly Hills of two district-owned properties. The district owns a vacant lot on Elm Drive across from Beverly Vista School, currently used for staff parking. It also owns a site on Lasky Drive which houses the BHUSD district office.

Goldberg has put the discussion of the two sites on the agenda of the next meeting scheduled for Aug. 24. Mayor William Brian and Councilman Julian Gold represent the city on the panel while Goldberg and board Vice President Jake Manaster represent the district.

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Marie Cunningham (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Would you support a parcel tax?
Joan Weller August 16, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Would I support a parcel tax? So they can waste and mismanage more of the children's general fund money? Just look at the articles next to this one to see how BHUSD wastes so much of the money it already gets (which is way more than most school districts thanks to the JPA and Basic Aid). They buy a $1.5 million house on Doheny and hide the purchase from the public, rent the house at a HUGE loss at the expense of children's education, spend millions and millions on multiple Washington and local lobbyists to fight a losing battle, have an insatiable appetite for $900/ hr lawyers and never saw a lawsuit they didn't love. It's like giving money to a crack addict. And these are the same people who see nothing wrong with breaking the BHUSD's promise to the public that Measure E would not raise taxes. They want to TRIPLE those taxes without even telling the public. Is Mr. Goldberg floating an idea or rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?
Ace T August 17, 2012 at 03:33 AM
They need to get creative or stop wasteful spending instead of burdening the city residents with more taxes. More taxes will mean lower property prices for all long term. It's a no win situation for residents. The latest report showed 55 homes in Holmby Hills were to be annexed it would raise $4.65 Million in property taxes as an idea? What about another Hotel like Montage that brings in huge tax revenue for the city. There is no reason for more taxes on any level. If there was a tax; seniors should also pay, you can't exclude one group so that they vote for you. I won't vote for it unless seniors pay there fair share we all share responsibility. Then we would vote out any council person who supported this. We don't have poor seniors in BH, they can afford it while living in there multi-million dollar homes. Stop putting the burden on middle aged people.

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