School Board Acts on More Funds for Emergency Tax Promo/Assessment Efforts
• Voters Are Expressing Reservations
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved an additional $11,500 requested by the committee tasked with determining if an emergency school funding parcel tax is feasible.
The district initially allocated $50,000 for the committee. The new funding will be used for “additional research,” according to a staff report.
The move came after a districtwide telephone survey conducted in early December reportedly yielded inconclusive, or in the words of one committee member, “lukewarm,” results.
The committee is scheduled to present the results of its research at the board’s Jan. 14 meeting. Committee chair Neil Carrey, however, cautioned the board that there is no guarantee that the committee will find the proposed tax feasible.
The district is facing a $10 million deficit this year and that number is expected to continue to rise for the next three years.
District property owners currently pay an annual parcel tax of $346. In 2008 voters approved a measure removing an expiration clause from the existing tax, making it permanent. The proposed new tax would add an additional $225-$425 to the tax bill of each property owner.
At the same meeting, the board unanimously voted to elect vice president Barry Snell its president and board member Kelly Pye its vice president. Both board members have served since 2006. Snell replaces board member Ralph Mechur as president.
In other news, the district has received a supply of 22,000 surgical masks from the California Emergency Management Agency, along with a supply of latex gloves and a number of “respirator masks,” as a flu prevention measure.
Flu season in area schools has been relatively mild, according to Jane Jeffries, the district’s coordinating nurse, but supplies not utilized for flu season can be added to the district’s stockpile of disaster preparedness supplies.
The district is reporting that, although flu cases were higher than usual during October, the numbers appear to have declined in December.
District schools have requested that students with flu-like symptoms stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever. Printed flu season precaution guidelines have been sent home with students at all district schools, and are posted on the district’s website at smmusd.org