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Parcel Tax to Go on Ballot : Beverly Hills Schools Audit Projects Deficits

October 30, 1986|JOHN L. MITCHELL | Times Staff Writer

An audit of Beverly Hills Unified School District financial records projects yearly deficits ranging from $3.4 million to $6.9 million during the next five years.

The audit, by Arthur Young & Co., said the district will have to make up a $3.4-million to $4.7-million deficit in its $28-million budget in the 1987-88 school year. The shortfalls will grow to between $3.6 million and $6.9 million by the 1990-91 school year.

The figures, according to Board of Education President Frank Fenton, confirm the district's projections and point to the need to raise additional revenue.

The school board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to place a measure on the March 3 ballot seeking an annual tax of $270 on each of the the 9,200 parcels of property in the city. The tax would be levied for five years and would raise about $2.5 million.

"If the voters believe the figures they will support the school district," Fenton said.

But convincing the voters that the financial plight is real may not be so easy. Four years ago another Arthur Young audit found that the district often overestimated its expenses and understated its revenues.

"At the time we had $10 million in reserves, but that has changed," Fenton said. The district's reserves are expected to run out this school year.

The City Council asked for its own five-year financial forecast in order to determine how much it would contribute to the district. Beverly Hills paid $2.2 million to the district this year through an agreement to lease school facilities. The audit forecasts an increase in city payments of $3.2 million.

The report assumes that the district will stay within it $28-million budget, in part by reducing personnel and eliminating its capital improvement program. The audit also lists annual contributions of $400,000 from the Beverly Hills Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks donations for the schools from the community.

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