Santa Monica’s desire for more cultural and athletic facilities may become a reality by 2016 if the timeline for the Civic Center Joint Use (CCJU) project moves forward as planned.
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and the City of Santa Monica have partnered to upgrade Santa Monica High School’s athletic and cultural facilities so the community as well as the high school’s students could use them. The $57 million for the project is going to be funded by the city’s Redevelopment Agency. Those funds could be in jeopardy if Governor Jerry Brown decides to abolish all the redevelopment agencies in the state because of the state’s budget crisis. Despite this possibility this project is still moving forward.
At the April 6 School Board meeting board members unanimously approved the description for the CCJU for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city. The description includes the demolition of the existing gym to make way for a new gym that would range in size from 33,000 to 54,000 square feet. Gym amenities would include basketball/volleyball courts, a dance room, yoga rooms, a fitness room and a pep studio. Also part of the gym would be restrooms, showers, dressing areas and spectator accommodations.
The existing outdoor Greek Theatre would be updated and the current football field would become a synthetic turf field. There would also be shared facilities for the Greek Theatre and field that would include concessions, a ticket booth, restrooms, dressing rooms, props/equipment storage, stage lighting/audio enhancements and new areas for backstage preparations.
Lastly, replacement of the schools exterior courts, pool improvements, and field spectator accommodations may also be made. This will depend on the final refinements of the new gym’s site location.
The next step will be the completion of the MOU with the city.
The Board was also given a budget update for the 2011-2012 academic year by the District’s Chief Financial Officer, Janece Maez. She explained that the legislature has approved the expenditure reductions proposed by Governor Jerry Brown in January. However, “negotiations related to an election [in June] to extend taxes between the Governor and the legislature were stopped last week so the possibility of tax extensions is now very remote.” Without the tax extensions the district will lose at least $350 per Average Daily Attendance (ADA). ADA determines how much the district receives from the state per student annually. She also mentioned that there is a possibility that there may be an additional loss of up to another $300/ADA which would mean a total loss of $650/ADA.
Maez also discussed a list of budget cuts that had been developed during budget discussions for the current academic year which were not made. She stressed that some of these cuts might have to be considered for the 2011 – 2012 academic year and beyond. The district has to submit a three year balanced budget projection to the Los Angeles County Office Of Education in June.
After the meeting the Mirror spoke to Board President Jose Escarce about the superintendent search. The board conducted interviews on the weekend of April 2 – April 3 with a panel of candidates selected from a national pool by their search firm, Leadership Associates. He was “extraordinarily pleased with the panel’s quality. We chose one finalist and the next step will be to validate that.” This will be done by checking references and a site visit to the candidate’s current district.