Ralph Mechur was appointed to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s (SMMUSD) Board of Education to fill the position vacated by Emily Bloomfield in June.
In an interview with the Mirror on August 13, Mechur stated that his main goal right now is to “take Bloomfield’s seat and get up to speed on all the issues.”
Mechur has been active in the District for nearly two decades, having been the president of SMMUSD’s Education Foundation for 18 years, on the Facilities Master Plan Committee for three years and on the Measure “BB” (facilities bond) Advisory Committee. Mechur wanted to step up his District involvement at the Board level so he could “help the District and community with the ongoing issues” and help “maintain the District’s excellence and make it even better.”
For Mechur, who was appointed on August 9, there are three important issues facing the District right now: review of the Special Education program which he supports, getting the BB construction off and running and the financial picture.
Mechur, an architect, will now serve as a Board member liaison to the Measure “BB” Advisory Committee. He mentioned that Phase I of the Master Facilities Plan is moving along nicely for several reasons: the organization of the project is being done by Parsons 3D/I; there is an Environmental Impact Report consultant on Board; the Board will select the architects within the next three months; and the school sites will review the Phase I projects. He noted it will take over six years for the Phase I projects to be completed.
The “District’s financial health seems to be fine,” according to Mechur, and they “are waiting for action from Sacramento.”
Board President Kathy Wisnicki said Ralph Mechur is a very qualified new Board member whose “learning curve will be almost non-existent due to the degree which he has been involved with the District.” His appointment rounds out the Board because of “the level of expertise” he brings as an architect.
A District press release quotes Superintendent Dianne Talarico as saying Mechur “brings a wealth of knowledge to the board based on his participation on numerous district committees and advisory boards during the past several years.”
Mechur has also served on the City of Santa Monica’s Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board.
In other business, the Board established a 23-member Parcel Tax Renewal Feasibility Committee and appointed the committee members. The committee will focus on making a recommendation to the Board as to whether it is feasible to renew the District’s parcel taxes and whether to place the renewal of the parcel tax before the voters on the February 5, 2008 ballot or the June 3, 2008 ballot. The Board will also determine whether it would be advisable to combine the District’s current Parcel Tax Measures “Y” and “S.”