County voters shot down a proposed tax that could have raised roughly $92.5 million for the struggling Los Angeles Unified School District. According to the Daily News, ballot Measure E would have added $100 per parcel to property owners' tax bills, saving the jobs of hundreds of teachers, administrators, librarians, campus security officers, and custodians. The $100-a-year levy would have been imposed on each piece of taxable real property within the LAUSD boundaries, regardless of value.
Although 52.95 percent of voters said yes and 47.05 percent turned the measure down, it still failed because passage would have required a two-thirds majority to pass.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the initiative's windfall for the first year would have included funds to restore elementary school music and art programs and cash to prevent further class-size growth in core subjects in high schools.
Even if the measure was passed, however, board member Richard Vladovic admitted that the tax would not be a long-term solution to the school district's fiscal problems, according to the Daily Breeze.
“What we're trying to do right now, as they taught me in the Army, stop the bleeding first,” he said. “That's all it's going to do. It's not going to make the person well. It's going to stop the bleeding so we don't have the chaos of a county takeover or a state takeover.”
The school district is expected to be facing a $640 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year. Over the past two years, the state Legislature has cut $1.3 billion from local schools and is expected to cut several hundred million dollars more.
According to LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines and four other education officials, the “unprecedented cuts” will force schools to lose more than 8,000 essential school employees, including 4,000 teachers.