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Proposed Property Tax Would Raise $500M Annually For LAUSD Schools

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – This summer, Los Angeles County voters will likely decide whether to pass a new property tax that would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the L.A. Unified School District.

In the wake of facing its first teachers' strike in thirty years, the LAUSD Board of Education Thursday unanimously approved a resolution to place a parcel tax measure before voters in June.

A parcel tax is not based on the assessed value of a property, but is generally a flat fee based on square footage. It requires a two-thirds margin for approval.

If passed by voters, it would impose a levy of 16 cents per square foot of building improvements on properties within the district. The parcel tax, which would remain in effect for 10 years, would raise an estimated $500 million a year.

Exemptions would be provided for parcels owned by people aged 65 or older and used as their primary residence.

It will likely go on the June 4 ballot, but could be delayed to the Nov. 5 ballot.

In a statement Tuesday, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner expressed his support for the measure.

"It is time for Los Angeles Unified to pursue a local measure to increase funding for schools," Beutner said. "A revenue measure, if approved by voters in June could provide additional funding for schools during the upcoming school year. This will allow for the accelerated improvement in student learning, further reduction in class size and providing more support to students and educators in schools. It is time to build on the commitment the community has expressed and move forward together."

After 21 months of unsuccessful contract talks between the district and the teachers union, about 34,000 LAUSD teachers went on a nine-day strike in January, the first such strike since 1989. The two sides finally reached a deal on Jan. 22.

The deal included a 6 percent pay raise for teachers, a phased-in reduction of class sizes over the next three school years and provisions for more support staff such as nurses, librarians and counselors.

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