Voters in the Wiseburn School District will consider a ballot measure next week that would raise homeowners' taxes by up to $100 a year to pay for special programs at the district's three schools.
Supt. John McCarthy said that without the tax increase, the district, which includes west Hawthorne and an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, will have to cancel programs in instrumental music, computers, reading and counseling as well as gifted and talented education.
The district, whose budget this year is $5.2 million, has gotten by financially in recent years by using proceeds from the sale of a school for operating costs. It sold the Smith Elementary school site for $2.5 million in 1987 and received permission from the state to put $1.5 million of that into the general fund. The tax, known as Ballot Measure X, is necessary because the $1.5 million is running out, school officials say.
The measure would increase taxes by up to $100 per parcel for each of the next four years and generate an estimated $350,000 annually for the schools. The school board would decide on the level of the tax increase each year, up to $100. Senior citizens could apply for waivers that would exempt them from the tax.
Ballot Measure X has received the support of the parent-teacher associations at Anza and Cabrillo elementary schools and Dana Middle School. No argument against the tax was submitted for the sample ballot.
The measure is not the only tax increase on the ballot for district residents who live in Hawthorne. Proposition D would increase citywide property taxes in order to raise $2.9 million for 35 more police officers.
Both propositions need the approval of two-thirds of the voters to pass.