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.