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Santa Monica City Council Backs School Bond Measure

Much of the bond money would fund improvements at Santa Monica High School, while 20 percent of it would go to Malibu schools. Request to endorse the measure made by two council members seeking reelection.

A has the city of Santa Monica's seal of approval.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to support the measure, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot in Malibu and Santa Monica. Much of the money is dedicated to improvements at Santa Monica High School, if voters approve the measure.

"It's been almost 40 years since there's been any meaningful building at Santa Monica High School—and about five minutes on the campus, it shows," said councilwoman Gleam Davis.

If approved by voters, the general obligation bond would fund facility and technology upgrades across the . Twenty percent would be earmarked for schools in Malibu, but a big chunk of the money would pay for improvements at Santa Monica High School, according to Board of Education President Ben Allen.

He told the council that with , securing the funding is vital. Before , the Community Redevelopment Agency of Santa Monica was poised to revamp the high school with a new classrooms, a student union and art center. 

"We already had about $56 million slated for improvements," Allen said. "There were possible other improvements coming later—all that money is gone."

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The general obligation bond would cost Santa Monica and Malibu property owners $185 per year for up to 30 years (and possibly more in Malibu). The money could not be used to fund salaries for teachers or other employees.

In justifying the council's support, Davis pointed to studies that show modern facilities improve student achievement and classroom performance.

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley, recently completed a study of the Los Angeles Unified School District's school building program—financed by $19.5 billion in voter-approved state and local bonds—that was inconclusive on that front. 

They found construction of 131 new schools over the last decade has helped alleviate overcrowded campuses, giving elementary students a major academic boost—but not high schoolers.

The endorsement of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified bond was made at the request of Davis and Terry O'Day—the .

Eddie Greenberg August 30, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Just how much more bonds, fees, and other excuses to bleed the property owner dry will keep coming down the pike? If the council members think it o.k. we don't! Everyone knows that the School District wastes money by the barrell, and we pick up their mistakes all the time. What we do need is another Howard Jarvis for another Tax Revolution! The extra sales tax is for how long and until when? What I object to is people who never worked a day in their life asking for more taxes on the council floor for, "our children". Only thing is they have no children and we know it. Ego's and delusions of grandeur do not pay the bill.
Hans Laetz August 30, 2012 at 01:55 AM
"Everyone knows that the School District wastes money by the barrells" ??? Please explain. Exactly where does the SMUUSD waste money by the barrel? Please be precise. You made the charge, Mr. Greenberg. Please back it up.
Eddie Greenberg August 30, 2012 at 02:12 AM
How about the inflated salaries? Madame Lyon earns approx. $300,000 per year plus benefits & yada yada. How about the well overpaid administrators? And there are many. Only the teachers are being denied what they should have. How much more do you think Hans that the property owner should be forced to pay? The burden continues to fall in the same direction always!
Hans Laetz August 30, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Give me a break. You Jarvis types are always bellyaching about "overpaid administrators" and then whine about the inevitabel bad decisions made when underpaid administrators with scant experience make bad decisions. I will agree that executives make too much compared to the workers. I will also point out that the problem is far, far worse in corporate America. But let's accept your BS strawman and say the administrators are all overpaid. Cut their pay - let's say 50 percent. How much would be saved, exactly. You made the charge. You tell me how much that will be. Let's see you back up your "barrels" charge, kind sir.
Hans Laetz August 30, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Inevitable. Check.
Eddie Greenberg August 30, 2012 at 02:33 AM
You sound like you are at least unadjusted Sir! May I suggest that you seek help. Thanks for your reply.
Hans Laetz August 30, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Where are the "barrels" of wasted money that you so grandly proclaim to be flowing out of the school district? A simple question. No justification at all for schoolyard insults.
Hans Laetz August 30, 2012 at 02:46 AM
And by the way.I oppose the bond measure. Buut I choose to base my opposition on reason and facts ... not Jon Coupal/Howard Jarvis tea party claptrap.
Glenn E Grab August 30, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Hans, without Jarvis, we would be paying astronomical poperty taxes.....you're a tea party guy and don't even kmow it...
Neal Payton August 31, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Glenn, many of us are paying astronomical taxes, those of us who've bought real estate more recently. Prop 13 is really like rent control for taxes. It creates a very distorted property tax picture. Two identical homes, next to each other will be subject to wildly different tax bills based on when their homes were purchased. My property taxes here adjusted per square foot, are double what they were in Washington, DC, where I lived, where housing prices are similar. And DC is not exactly considered a low-tax (city or state). That is because I am making up for someone else's artificially low property taxes. It is interesting, that despite SaMo's supposed high taxes, it manages to maintain its high property values, that must mean that some people must think that the taxes actually result in value. Moreover, each one of those fees you dislike has been approved by the voters. Someone must think that they are worthwhile.
GSGETSIT August 31, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Before I would support this request I want to see your list of projects to be funded by this money. Where is this list???
GSGETSIT August 31, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I am glad the City Council supports this request. I wonder if they are putting up any of the Cities money??? oh yes we passed at sales tax for that one!!!! OH SH** 8T
Niles Akbar August 31, 2012 at 02:56 PM
The socialists running the People's Republic of Santa Monica are busy spending other people's money. "Let's spread the wealth around, baby!"
Glenn E Grab August 31, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Neil....you're not paying astronomical property taxes,,,,they're limited to one percent of the assessed value of your property....THANKS TO JARVIS AND PROP 13...btw, what does square footage have to do withn anything?....you want cheaper taxes? move to Palmdale....you can get a house for next to nothing there...you have it backwards....higher value means higher taxes...
Neal Payton August 31, 2012 at 08:50 PM
@Glen. Yes, my property taxes are 1% assessed value. However, as a newer purchaser, my assessed value is roughly = to the price I paid for the house. However, someone living in an identical house right next door, who has lived there for 30 years, is going to paying a substantially less amount of taxes because of the limit to assessed value increases imposed by Prop 13. The neighboring house is paying substantially less than I am due to Prop 13's artificial rigging of the equation. Personally, I don't that that's very fair. It's much like rent control. Someone pays full market value, the next door neighbor, substantially less, except that full market value is really above market, as it is subsidizing the below market value renter. I would argue the same goes for Prop 13. My point about sq. footage, is that it's a way to compare property taxes across different size houses. I am asking, how can I be paying double in taxes here than I was in DC (which is thought to have high taxes). It's becuase in DC. and many states, "assessed value" is not the same as actual sales price of a home, so the percentage of 'assessed value' is meaningless in and of itself, because not everyone's assessed value is calculated on the same basis. Prop 13 is killing California because it only worked when there was enough buying and selling, and real estate inflation to make up for the 'rent-controlled' payers. Now that the cycle is over, the structural limitations are apparent.
Niles Akbar August 31, 2012 at 09:20 PM
No, it's run-away public employee salaries, benefits and pensions that are ruining the State's finances. No more new taxes! No more new environmental regulations!
John Mazza August 31, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Prop 13 lets you plan for retirement and lets you secure your home into the future. I am an extreme example. I bought a house in 1975 for $175,000 and presently pay $2230 a year in property taxes. I was offered $4,000,000 for the house recently. If you got ride of prop 13, I could not possibly pay $50,000 a year (1.25%) in property taxes and stay retired. I like my house. Why should I be forced to sell it ? When you bought your house you knew exactly what your property taxes would be and what the will be in the future and you made a choice. If you eliminate Prop 13 you can never know what your taxes will be and you cannot plan for the future.. Pension plans do not go up in relation to housing prices.
Glenn E Grab September 01, 2012 at 02:16 AM
John, I don't own a house, but I'm on your side 100%....good for you....
Glenn E Grab September 01, 2012 at 02:17 AM
it'll never change, quit whining....
GSGETSIT September 01, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Someone writting to SMP said arond 80% will go to fixing up the High School and 20% to the schools in Malibu. Is that written into the item we are going to vote upon or is it a HANDSHAKE AMONG THE MEMBERS ON THE BOARD OF EDUCCATION. I still want to see the list of projects and who decided upon the makeup of the list!!
Marianne Riggins September 09, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Prop 13 also allows property owners who have made somewhere their home, raised kids, been members of a community a chance to stay in their homes even if the surrounding properties change value substantially. Take Malibu for example, decades ago many middle class families moved there to enjoy a rural community, without Prop 13 they would be forced to sell their properties because they can't pay the taxes, would that be right?
Jenna Chandler (Editor) September 21, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Hi Gordon, a much belated response to your request: we're working on getting a list and will publish it once we get it.

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