The Glendale and Burbank school districts won a reprieve this week when the county Board of Supervisors delayed voting on a plan to place a storm-water cleanup proposition on the ballot, a move that could cost the districts thousands.
If approved by voters, the initiative would raise funds through a parcel fee to improve local groundwater sources and prevent toxic runoff from reaching the ocean. Schools have traditionally been exempt from such assessments, but not this time. At least, not yet.
It's unclear how much Glendale Unified would be charged if the tax were to be imposed; the county says it estimates $5,000 annually, but school officials were told earlier that it could be on the hook for as much as $200,000 each year. As GUSD Supt. Dick Sheehan said, “The math doesn't work.”
Burbank Unified could be assessed $28,000 annually if the proposal were to succeed at the polls. In December, its school board voted to oppose the initiative, saying, among other concerns, that it could set a bad precedent. It does.
We understand the county has to solve water-quality issues, and that our beaches and waterways suffer each moment something is not done. However, placing the burden on our already strapped school districts is shortsighted. The supervisors should exempt school districts and deal with the decreased revenue.