The Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education voted this week to spend about $1.535 million to buy a house in the city with the intent of renting it out to and his family.
Board President Brian Goldberg said that low housing and interest rates made it the right time for the district to take advantage of the opportunity to purchase the home, located at 220 N. Doheny Drive. He added that Woods has not been involved in the discussion to buy the property.
“My hope is the superintendent will rent the home from us, but if not this is an investment for the district. We will be able to use it to offset some of our obligations for our required reserve,” Goldberg said, referring to the fact that as a district, the BHUSD needs to maintain of at least 3 percent of its overall budget. “Once this property is paid off it can be used as leverage for that reserve amount, which would free up about 3 percent of our working capital in the general budget to use for the education for our students.”
The two-level, 2,665-square-foot home has four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and sits on a 5750-square-foot lot, according to its listing. It appears to be in good condition with modern appliances and bathrooms, as shown by photos on the listing.
Goldberg, who said the purchase was his idea, said no district funds will be used to buy the house. It would be entirely paid for by a municipal finance bank loan.
“Unfortunately we're in deficit spending right now because of the cuts that have been made by the governor, and the projected cuts for next year are going to be catastrophic if they go into effect,” Goldberg said. “We had to start looking out for our best interests and for long-term solutions to these financial problems.”
There was virtually no discussion of the decision and vote during the four-hour June 12 board meeting. The agenda item notes that district staff “recommends approval of the purchase of real property investment” as well as authorizing “inspections and other required related services not to exceed $10,000.”
Noah Margo was the sole board member to vote against the purchase.
“I was not pleased about how the proposal was presented,” he said, but added that he could ultimately support the plan, which must be voted on at least one more time before the district proceeds.
“I do [real estate] for a living,” Margo said. “From that perspective, it is a good investment.”
Woods became the BHUSD superintendent July 1, 2011, under a four-year contract. He had been superintendent of the San Marino Unified School District, which has ranked No. 1 in California’s academic performance scores in recent years.
The superintendent has four children, three of whom presently attend city schools. He currently lives in a rented apartment, he told Patch last year.
If the sale goes through, the board would likely rent the house to Woods at a subsidized rate. There have been four BHUSD superintendents in the last five years and the home purchase appears to be partly aimed at helping keep Woods in the district.
The move is reminiscent of when the City Council purchased a home on South La Peer Drive for then-city manager Rod Wood several years ago. The city still owns the home, which has depreciated in value since its purchase.
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