Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon encouraged voters Thursday to support two education propositions and local Measure ES in the upcoming November election.
If Gov. Jerry Brown Proposition 30 and activist Molly Munger's Proposition 38 do not pass, the school district could face up to $10 million in additional cuts next year, according to the SMMUSD.
Measure ES is meant to provide a portion of $1 billion of needed improvements at schools in Santa Monica and Malibu.
Lyon released the following letter:
Nov. 6 will bring a vital and important election to our nation, our state and our own Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
I am writing because I hope to encourage every voter in our local education community to vote on election day. Your participation could make a crucial or our local public schools.
Two statewide propositions, Propositions 30 and 38, pertain directly to public school funding. If neither measure passes, SMMUSD will be faced with approximately $5 million in cuts that will need to be made immediately, which will be devastating to our programs.
Voters will also find Measure ES, a local general obligation bond, on the November ballot. If passed, this measure will allow SMMUSD to repair and modernize our schools. It will improve school safety by retrofitting and rebuilding classrooms at our decades-old campuses. Measure ES will also provide funds to equip our students with true 21st Century academics, including much-needed technology for each student in our schools. Regardless of the passage of the statewide measures, there are no other funding sources to address these critical needs.
Projects for Measure ES funding will be selected based on a District-wide facility assessment and draft Master Plan. That Master Plan identified more than $1.2 billion of needed facility repairs and upgrades for our schools, with $268 million of that need to be paid for by the 2006 Measure BB. However, the urgent need has grown even more urgent since the Master Plan’s completion, and new projects are identified and prioritized regularly. In addition, the Board of Education has prioritized twenty percent of the funds from this measure to be specifically dedicated for Malibu modernization projects and upkeep.
Priorities for Measure ES funding include:
- Raising student achievement and preparing students for college and 21st Century career choices by modernizing computers and learning technology
- Building permanent classrooms to replace badly outdated temporary classrooms that have exceeded their recommended lifetimes
- Ensuring every school meets current earthquake and fire safety standards
- Addressing urgently needed repairs and upgrades in 100-year-old buildings at Santa Monica High School, including the 1906 History building and the Language, English, Business, Music, and Administration buildings from the 1920s
- Making environmental improvements resulting in better air quality and temperate in our classrooms and more sustainable schools
- Repairing or replacing leaky roofs, worn-out floors, rusty plumbing, unhygienic bathrooms and locker rooms, and faulty electrical, mechanical and energy systems.
- Removing hazardous materials, asbestos and lead paint from older school sites.
Passage of these three measures will ensure the resources that our local schools need. They will help us avoid crippling cuts and provide all students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District with a quality education in a 21st Century learning environment.
Thank you for being a valued member of our Santa Monica-Malibu education community. By making sure you are informed about all of the important issues on the November ballot and the impact they will have on public schools – and then voting, you become a critical support in the efforts to preserve and protect public education from more than a decade of relentless Statewide funding cuts. Every dollar generated by Measure ES will be spent on our local schools and not one cent of it can be taken away by the State.