Dear Editor – Facts From Former School Board Member

Dear Editor,

As of last June, all 3 of my children have completed Farragut Elementary, Culver City Middle School, and Culver City High School. As of December 2022, I am no longer on the Culver City Board of Education. So it might appear that I no longer have a stake in CCUSD. That appearance would be false. As a Culver City resident, I know that our community benefits from good schools. As a citizen, I know that our country is reliant on educated citizens to make good choices in public life. And as a professional scientist, I know that the only way we will survive as a species is for future generations to learn to understand science and to think critically.

With that in mind, I would like to remind my fellow voters of a few facts:

1) Schools in California are state funded. Ordinary property tax or sales tax in Culver City has no effect on funding for CCUSD. In fact, because low-income districts get a little extra, CCUSD receives less funding per student than the state average.

2) The overwhelming majority of CCUSD’s budget goes to salaries of classroom teachers and school employees, and the cost of living is high in Culver City and surrounding areas. As a result, CCUSD and CCUSD employees are constantly trying to do more with less.

3) The state of California severely limits the ways in which school districts can raise and spend money. It’s complicated, but as a practical matter, the only way that CCUSD can do major capital improvements (like fixing or replacing buildings) is through a bond.

4) The last time we voted for a bond was a decade ago. I supported it then, and I also pointed out that it wasn’t enough. This one isn’t enough either. I wish we were voting on something twice as big, but something is better than nothing.

5) You may remember that we voted for a parcel tax a few years ago, which provides roughly 2 cents out of every dollar in CCUSD’s budget. Clearly not enough, and not money which can realistically be used for capital expenses.

I’ve also seen a few people opposing the bond because they don’t trust the school board and CCUSD administration to spend the money wisely. While I disagree with that assessment, and there are a variety of safeguards in place, it really has no bearing on your vote for Measure E. There is a school board election in November. If you don’t trust the board to do a good job, then vote for someone you trust, or run for office yourself. If Measure E passes, the money won’t be spent in 2024, because the legal and financial process takes many months.

I urge all Culver City residents to vote for Measure E: For our kids, for our society, and for ourselves.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Steven M. Levin, PhD.

The Actors' Gang