Judge says Los Angeles Unified District tax referendum will stay on the ballot

Judge says Los Angeles Unified District tax referendum will stay on the ballot

Opponents trying to get the question off the June 4 ballot contend that the district improperly altered the ballot language.

A judge has decided that the Los Angeles Unified School District will be allowed to move forward with a referendum on a proposed property tax increase, but the measure will face a hearing on its validity after the June 4 election.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the tax proposal would raise an estimated $6 billion—$500 million per year over 12 years—to help pay for traditional and charter schools within the boundaries of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

But opponents of the measure have sued to block the election; they argue that the district improperly altered the ballot language without a public hearing and vote by the school board.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel has declined to dismiss the lawsuit, but she also refused to halt the election.

The revised text was a description of what would be taxed. Language approved by the board on Feb. 28 referred to “habitable” space on a property. On March 11, Supt. Austin Beutner asked county election officials to change the description to “the square footage of all buildings or structures erected on or affixed to the land.”

On Tuesday, the school board passed a resolution asserting that the tax would not be applied to commercial or residential parking structures and garages.

The next hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled after the election, on June 6.

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