City Council Will Form Ad Hoc Joint Committee with School Board to Implement Tax Revenue Sharing

Mayor recommends three school board, three council members; Committee may discuss including charter schools in the revenue

Published : Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | 5:39 AM

Members of the Pasadena City Council and of the Pasadena Board of Education shown in joint session earlier this year.

The road toward a plan for a Measure J sales tax revenue-sharing plan officially opened Monday.

The Pasadena City Council approved a recommendation for an ad hoc Committee to hammer out an agreement for sharing an estimated $7 million yearly in new municipal sales tax revenues with the Pasadena Unified School District.

“This is a watershed moment in our relationship,” said Councilmember Margaret McAustin, of the pending meetings.

In November, voters approved a 0.75% city sales tax and separately passed a measure which advised the City Council to allocate one-third of the new tax’s revenue to support local public schools.

The School District needs the estimated $7 million the new funding would provide. Next Monday, the School Board must submit a “Fiscal Stabilization Plan” to Los Angeles County showing how it plans to cut enough costs to live within its declining revenues while maintaining a state-law-mandated three percent emergency reserve fund.

The School Board reportedly believes it has a satisfactory budget plan ready, but it had to cut $10.1 million in personnel and services and other costs to get there.

Achieving consensus on that plan cleared the way for moving ahead with the Council’s decision to form an ad hoc joint committee to hash out the details of the revenue sharing agreement.

The committee would report back to the Council in 60 days.

“We will try to make this happen quickly,” Mayor Terry Tornek said.

Pasadena Unified Board President Lawrence Torres appeared before the Council, thanking them in advance of the committee meetings for their “thoughtful discussions.”

The Pasadena Unified School Board will meet December 13 to approve its final Fiscal Stabilization Plan before submitting it to Los Angeles County Office of Education on December 17.

The Board has no assurance that the County will accept the Plan.

The City Council had previously discussed the revenue-sharing issue on November 19, discussing whether or not to actually share the new tax revenue, and if so, how.

Much of the discussion on Monday surrounded the issue of whether or not to include charter schools in the revenue sharing, but Mayor Tornek told the Council that while the Committee could discuss the issue, “It was never my intention to include charter schools” when Measure J was crafted.

Christopher Copolillo, Director, Regional Advocacy, Greater Los Angeles, for the California Charter Schools Association, nevertheless asked the Council, during the public speaker portion of the meeting, to include at least one charter school representative on the ad hoc committee being formed.. Three other charter school representatives also asked for the inclusion of charter schools.
The City staff report had noted that “Measure J furthers the partnership between the City and PUSD. As such consideration should be given to establishing a more formal structure for engagement.”

The report added, “The City and PUSD have a long tradition of cooperation and coordination. The passage of Measures I and J will assist both the City and the PUSD, in achieving the City Council’s strategic plan goals of maintaining fiscal responsibility and stability, as well as supporting and promoting the quality of life and local economy.”

Revenue from the sales tax measure would begin arriving in the City’s coffers in late June of 2019.

 

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