The Santa-Monica Malibu Unified School District’s School Board appointed 34 people to an Emergency/Temporary Parcel Tax Committee which will consider the feasibility of placing an emergency parcel tax on a future ballot.
If the emergency parcel tax is placed on a ballot and approved by the voters revenues from it will then be used to help offset all or a portion of the District’s budget deficit. The District’s budget has recently lost millions of dollars of funding due to the California budget crisis.
The committee’s responsibilities which were approved on August 19 will include reporting to the Board of Education in two phases. The phase one report will consist of a recommendation that will be made no later than the December 10 Board meeting regarding the feasibility of an emergency parcel tax. The phase two report will be made to the Board no later than March 4, 2010 and will consist of a recommendation on the feasibility of placing a capital improvement bond measure on the ballot to modernize the District’s schools.
Committee members will also work with a polling firm to craft questions to poll the electorate on the feasibility of both measures. Expenses for this polling could be up to $50,000. Other committee responsibilities will include working with the District’s Chief Financial Officer to outline the necessary steps to place the measures on the ballot and to retain necessary counsel for each step of the process.
Board members noted before their vote that everyone who applied to be on the committee was accepted. They also approved accepting one member from the Pico Neighborhood Association and announced the Board would be interested in additional applicants who are members of other neighborhood organizations or homeowner associations.
Assistant Superintendent Michael Matthews stated that he would be the lead District staff person for the committee and that their first meeting would be soon after school opens.
Superintendent Tim Cuneo noted during his report to the Board that the District’s current parcel tax will generate $10.3 million and that the District will lose just under $1 million from the 2,7770 seniors who are eligible for the senior exemption from parcel tax.
Cuneo also announced the death of Will Rodgers Elementary School Principal, Irma Lyons. Jerry Harris the formal principal of Roosevelt Elementary School, will become the Will Roger’s Interim Principal until a permanent principal is found. A national search will be conducted for a suitable candidate and then a committee that will include parents will help select the top three candidates.