After considering several scenarios, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education decided to place a $268 million school facilities bond measure on November’s ballot.
The Board’s August 3 decision agreed with the recommendation made by the District’s Chief Financial Officer Winston Braham at their July 27 meeting that was based upon factors such as, “How long it will take to get projects out of the Department of State Architecture, the planning process in putting projects together, the sequencing and scheduling of projects.” Braham will also need to make sure the school sites are prepared, stay aware of possible market volatility and make sure the District’s parcel tax is successfully renewed in 2008. If approved by voters, the $268 bond measure would mean parcels in the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu would be assessed $30 per year per $100,000 of assessed value and renters would pay $3 per month.
Also considered was a $400 million bond measure over a 20-year period which was suggested by the District’s Bond Feasibility Blue Ribbon Committee which would have meant parcels in the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu would be assessed $32 per year per $100,000 of assessed value. Some Board members suggested the $268 million figure.
In the end, the $268 million was agreed upon because the Board felt it would probably be spent in a shorter time frame and therefore make it less likely for the District to have a higher tax burden due to a bond surplus, as suggested by the experts the District consulted. In addition, Board Vice President Kathy Wisenicki told the Mirror after the meeting that the $268 million would help the District have “more up-to-date facilities planning and priorities.”
Gleam Davis, the co-chair of the District’s Bond Feasibility Committee, told the Board, “It was very important to the committee that whatever timetable you adopt it be aggressive enough to do meaningful work in the District in a relatively brief period of time…over five to eight to 10 years.” At some point, a second bond measure will be needed to complete the work recommended in the District’s 20-year Facilities Master Plan.
The District’s ongoing 20-year Facilities Master Planning process will be completed this fall after a final community workshop gives input on the Draft Facilities Master Plan, which is being developed based upon the workshops held from January through June. The process has been identifying projects for renovation, repair and upgrade such as 30-year-old bathrooms; health and safety projects including the removal of asbestos and mold; upgrading wiring and technology district-wide; new projects like multi-purpose rooms, cafeterias, serving kitchens, staff and student bathrooms; and storage, administrative and educational support spaces and classrooms.