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Measure EE: A Help for School and Homeowners

The parcel tax has helped boost Culver City's property values as buyers seek out our well-regarded campuses.

In November 2009 Culver City voters passed Measure EE, a tax of $99 per parcel (with exemptions for seniors) that would raise about $2 million annually for five years. Correction: the tax would raise approximately $1.5 million. Most of this money was going to be directed at advanced math and science programs and keeping music and arts classes that were under threat of elimination because of the statewide fiscal crisis that is still with us today.

So, was it worth it? As with many of these kinds of issues, it is not easy to say that Culver City taxpayers have received a return of X for their $2 million investment. I wrote a post a few weeks back that outlined how Culver City home prices had dropped less compared with those in many neighboring cities. There was no doubt that the reputation of the school system had played a major role in that result.

I sell real estate in Culver City, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Westchester, Venice and Brentwood. I have been serving all of these areas for more than 11 years, so I feel well prepared to assess these different markets, their nuances and what motivates buyers to gravitate toward a certain neighborhood.

I've recently held several open houses in some of Culver City's most popular areas. Most of the serious buyers were young couples with small children or those planning to have them. Almost all of them cited that the single most important factor to them and the prime motivator for moving to Culver City was the school system and its great reputation. Once they found out my own children were in the school system here, they had plenty of questions and wanted to know in detail about the different schools.

Now in the interests of full disclosure, I feel it is incumbent upon me to disclose that I was against Measure EE. It is not for this particular column to go into my personal rationale on this matter. Although I can't tell the taxpayers of Culver City that they got a 100, 200 or 300 percent return on their money, when it comes to the value of their homes, Measure EE was definitely worth it.

George Laase August 12, 2011 at 05:25 AM
The passage of Measure EE was a great way for the community to show its continued support of our schools. Now as to how the School Board decided to allocate those funds. Over 80% of the parcel tax collected is going for advanced Math and Science. I don't know the figure off-hand, but I'd bet more than .5% of the community that took the district survey said keeping the libraries open was important and yet, the Board only allocated .5% to the libraries. Keeping the elementary school libraries open should have been a Board priority. We received recognition, as a district, for "Closing the Achievement Gap." Now over 80% of the money is being allocated to further Advanced Math and Science studies. Almost nothing was added to help continue to close the gap even more. In fact, the money is being spent seems to do the exact opposite: to widen the very gap we were recognized in closing.
Madeline Ehrlich August 13, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Mr. King, I think that you need to check your numbers. The parcel tax Meas. EE brings in about one million a year over five years, not two million.
Mike King August 15, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Thanks for the correction.
rsergant August 23, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Mr. King.... I suggest that when you write an article about CCUSD related issues you contact CCUSD for some quotes, and or research or accurate statistics. This will be of value to our community. Pulling numbers out of the sky is not helpful. You wrote that "keeping the elementary school libraries open should have been a Board priority." What does that imply? Our elementary school libraries are currently, and have all along remained open.... and thriving. Our friends at the Roll n' Rye contribute money (in addition to Prop. EE and CCUSD funding) to bring our students great books. Our librarians are working EXTREMELY hard to not only have top class selections in place, but also to divy up all of our curricular materials. As to a widening achievement gap....what evidence are you basing your statement on???? Do you have proof? or just pudding?
Mike King August 23, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Sorry, I think you have your wires crossed, I make no mention of libraries in my post.

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