March 6, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

A Decade of Advocacy and Bold Partnerships Help Strengthen City and Schools: Op-Ed:

October 31 marked the one-year anniversary of the passage of the groundbreaking Santa Monica Propositions Y + YY. It also provides the opportunity to recognize and honor the unique partnership that these measures represent between the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District and the City of Santa Monica.

Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), a Santa Monica-based, all-volunteer, grass-roots political action committee, has advocated for local funding for local public schools for over a decade. Since the beginning, CEPS has bridged political divides, bringing together advocates from divergent groups and philosophies, all committed to protecting local public schools.

In California, public schools rely on the State for most of their funding, yet for the past decade, Sacramento has been the source of deep and relentless cuts, both to our local public schools and to schools up and down the state. In addition, early childhood education, community and Cal State colleges, and even our incredible UC system have all sustained devastating cuts. Public education’s outlook in our once-Golden State is dire.

Nearly a decade ago, CEPS argued that strong local public schools provide tangible and demonstrable financial benefits to their cities and that inadequate funding from the State was not acceptable. We called for “long-term, predictable, ongoing support from the City of Santa Monica for its local public schools”.

In 2003, CEPS proposed a measure to amend the Charter of the City of Santa Monica to provide ongoing direct contributions from the City to SMMUSD schools. After CEPS collected the 15,000 signatures to qualify that measure for the ballot, the City and SMMUSD crafted a direct Master Facilities Use Agreement, which is still in effect and requires renewal in early 2012.

Taking CEPS’s advocacy to a statewide level, in 2005, CEPS strategically partnered with California’s State PTA to organize “Caravan for Kids”, comprising rallies and press conferences across the state, and culminating in a large rally on the Capitol steps in Sacramento.

Education funding crises have pummeled public schools continually for the past decade but time and again our community pulled together to respond. CEPS and many community groups joined forces to work on multiple measures to provide local funding directly to classrooms. A coalition of committed volunteers from multiple groups, including CEPS, PTAs, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, the Chamber of Commerce, teachers, school staff, administrators, City leaders and many more worked extraordinarily hard on the campaigns. Voters, most of whom did not have school-aged children, demonstrated their commitment to strong public schools by passing these measures and voting to tax themselves to fill funding gaps caused by State cuts.

In 2010, in the middle of one of the worst recessions in recent history, the City of Santa Monica’s City Manager, Rod Gould, proposed a new municipal tax, to shore up funding for local services and public schools. The City Council voted to put it on the ballot, along with a companion advisory measure to describe the sharing of the funds. A diverse coalition, drawing on the strength of the education community, again coalesced to successfully campaign for the two unique ballot measures.

CEPS is deeply appreciative of Mr. Gould’s and the City Council’s commitment to the importance of partnership between the City and the Schools. We believe that these two unprecedented municipal policies, Y and YY, were the right message for the right community at the right time, and that a decade of advocacy to help protect strong public schools contributed to the success of these propositions.

On the one-year anniversary of these groundbreaking measures and partnership, we pause to look back and reflect on how far we have come as a community and say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who worked so hard to make these accomplishments possible. And because so much work is left to do, CEPS is also driven to look forward.

As cuts continue to come from Sacramento, CEPS will continue its #1 job; advocating to preserve and protect the quality of our local public schools. In addition, we will continue to advocate in local and state elections to help elect representatives who are aware of and ready to take on the challenges to ensure high quality public education. And CEPS will become more involved at the State level, since, after all, Sacramento is the place where funding and policy decisions live and die.

Moreover, on this anniversary celebrating the passage of Y and YY, CEPS is excited by the myriad opportunities developing in the wake of the strengthening partnership between our community and our schools. Santa Monica’s Buy Local campaign is building a strong working relationship between our education and business communities, and the emerging work of the Santa Monica Youth Resource Team brings schools and the community together to provide a continuum of services, outreach, and opportunities to children throughout our community, from cradle to career.

At its core, education advocacy – for CEPS, for our community leaders, and for every individual – boils down to providing each child the very best opportunity possible to learn. We are so proud and grateful that our great community is committed to the education of all of its children. Through true partnership, we all grow stronger.

Happy Birthday Y + YY. Many happy returns of the day!

Yours for Excellent Public Schools,

Shari Davis and Rebecca Kennerly

Co-chairs, Community for Excellent Public Schools

On behalf of the CEPS Steering Committee

in News
Related Posts

Trader Joe’s Eyes Another Santa Monica Space

March 5, 2021

March 5, 2021

Grocery store interested in space across the street from new Target By Sam Catanzaro Another major retailer may open in...

More Coastal Housing for the Westside?

March 5, 2021

March 5, 2021

More affordable housing may be coming to Westside coastal neighborhoods. Learn more in this video made possible by School of...

Edify TV: Westside High-Rise Nears Completion

March 5, 2021

March 5, 2021

A Westside high-rise checking in at over 30 stories is nearing has topped-out, the first building of this size built...

Police Union Considering Suing City of Santa Monica Over Lack of Citizen Commission Inclusion

March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

By Toi Creel ] The City of Santa Monica’s Police union is fighting to be included in a committee meant...

Video: Indoor Dining Close to Returning in LA County?

March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

Indoor dining could return to LA County very soon. Learn more and hear what diners have to say in this...

Santa Monica Teachers Begin Receiving COVID-19 Vaccinations Ahead of Campuses Reopening

March 2, 2021

March 2, 2021

SMMUSD partners with Providence St. John’s Health Center to vaccinate certain educators and staff By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica-Malibu Unified...

‘Safe Camping’ at the VA is Open To All Homeless Veterans

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

The “safe camping” program is geared toward getting homeless Veterans off the streets and provides a way to transition from homelessness to...

Santa Monica Police Warn of Thieves Targeting Seniors Near Palisades Park

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

Two elderly woman robbed along Ocean Avenue recently By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica police are investigating two thefts targeting senior...

Santa Monica’s Zero Emissions Delivery Zone Pilot Has Begun: Santa Monica Beat – March, 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica’s Zero Emissions Delivery Zone Pilot Has Begun * City...

Video: Closing Down Westside Oil Field?

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Officials are discussing closing a Westside oil field sitting on hundreds of acres of prime coastal land. Learn more in...

Pico Neighborhood Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Over 70 units of affordable housing come to area near Woodlawn Cemetery By Sam Catanzaro A 70-unit-plus affordable housing development...

Large Properties Drive-up Santa Monica Home Sales Amid Pandemic

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Annual report shows single-family home sales rising By Sam Catanzaro Interest in large properties with five-bedrooms or more helped drive-up...

Santa Monica Police Arrest Parolee for Setting Stolen Car on Fire

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Alex Omar Aguirre arrested by Santa Monica Police Department By Sam Catanzaro A Santa Monica resident this week watched as...