This Tuesday, the City Council will consider changes to its $25 million agreement with the local school district that dictates the flow of tax revenue between the two entities and allows the community to use schools and parks during non-school hours. The Master Facilities Use Agreement doesn’t terminate until 2022, but the city and the district may amend the document during the April 10 City Council meeting.
A new agreement would combine terms and conditions for revenue from two recent tax measures, YY and GS, into a single agreement. When they went to the polls, voters for both measures said half the new revenue from higher taxes should go to support schools. A Joint Use Agreement dictates the flow of the money from the Board of Equalization, to the city, to the district. Under the agreement, the city will pay the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District $25.1 million for the 2017 fiscal year alone.
Spokesperson Gail Pinsker says SMMUSD worked collaboratively with city staff to draft the changes going to Council.
“This agreement fulfills the will of the voters to have transaction tax funds go to support school facilities and programs,” Pinsker said in an email to the Daily Press. “We are fortunate to have a strong ongoing partnership with the City that will continue to benefit students, families and community members.”
Santa Monica Voters approved Measures GS and GSH in 2016, a half percent transaction and use tax, allocating half the revenue to maintain the city’s public schools and programming. The new contract would combine the terms of GSH with Measure YY, a similar measure passed in 2010. The new agreement would expire on June 30, 2028, with an option to extend for an additional ten years.
The City has collected $11,301,362 from Measure GS since it went into effect last April, according to a staff report submitted to the Council. Half of the money will go to building affordable housing and the rest to schools. Both taxes stay in effect indefinitely or until repealed by voters. City leaders have said the money from YY saved SMMUSD from a financial crisis during the recession.
SMMUSD Board member Laurie Lieberman wrote to the Council in support of the redrafted agreement.
“The proposed agreement reflects an approach that I believe fulfills the needs and concerns of both the City and the School District,” Lieberman said.
A provision will likely be included in the agreement to clarify that if SMMUSD were to split into two districts, the funding would reside with the district governing Santa Monica High School and Los Amigos Park. After years of separation talks, last month the district outlined a 50-year revenue sharing plan that would allow Malibu and Santa Monica to eventually operate as two districts independent of each other. Malibu leaders called the talks a “genuine path for an independent Malibu.”
The Council will also look at revised supplemental agreements for Lincoln and John Adams Middle Schools, CREST, Playground Partnership and Samohi as well as a supplemental agreement for Los Amigos Park.
The item was originally agendized to be heard March 27 while SMMUSD was on spring break but was postponed because of a lack of a City Council quorum.
A March 20 SMMUSD budget workshop projected a $4.2 million deficit in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, with the deficit increasing to $6.2 million in the next year.
The Council will meet on Tuesday, April 10 at 5:30 p.m. inside City Hall Council Chambers, 1685 Main Street, Room 2013.