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Beverly Hills School Tax Placed on Fall Ballot

May 26, 1988|JOHN MITCHELL | Times Staff Writer

Voters will be asked in November to approve a six-year extension of the $58-a-year school tax on each parcel of land in the financially troubled Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

The tax brings in $1.6 million a year for the schools from the more than 27,000 parcels of land in the district.

With little debate or controversy, the Board of Education this week unanimously agreed to place a proposition on the Nov. 8 ballot that would seek voter approval of the extension. The tax expires June 30, 1989.

Supt. Eugene Tucker said the district is not seeking to increase the $58-a-year fee on each parcel originally approved by the voters in June, 1984. However, the district is seeking to lengthen the term of the tax from five to six years to make it easier to hold future ballot renewals during general election years, he said.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday May 29, 1988 Home Edition Westside Part 9 Page 2 Column 1 Zones Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
A vote on extending the parcel tax that benefits local schools will be held in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in November. A headline in Thursday's Westside section erroneously said the vote will take place in Beverly Hills.

'The Same Tax'

"It is the same tax," Tucker said. "I feel optimistic that this one will also pass. The support is there, but it will take the volunteer efforts of a lot of people to make it happen."

To be enacted, the special tax requires approval by at least two-thirds of the voters rather than a simple majority.

When the tax went on the ballot in 1984, it won 69% of the votes cast.

"The money has been used to supplement the money the district receives from the state and federal governments," he said.

Since the passage of the tax, the district's finances have continued to decline, because of dropping enrollment and increased operating and labor costs.

The tentative budget for the 1988-89 school year, which includes parcel tax revenues along with revenues from other sources, is about $2 million in the red, Tucker said. "At this stage of the game a lot can happen between now and August (when the final budget is approved)," he added. The budget totals $40.3 million.

Citizens Committee Formed

In preparation for the November election, Tucker said a citizens committee is being set up to work on the campaign to support the tax. The district will also ask the city's rent control board for special consideration to allow landlords to pass along the cost of the tax to their tenants.

To gauge potential voter reaction, the district hired a consulting firm in February to conduct a survey of about 300 Santa Monica and Malibu voters. The survey results showed that the district continues to have strong support for a tax, Tucker said. A similar survey taken before the first successful election also showed strong support for a tax.

"I don't anticipate there will be any formal opposition to the tax," Tucker said. "But you have to expect that there are some people who for a variety of reasons will oppose any tax."

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