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School Board Votes to Prepare Bonds for November Ballot


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By Lookout Staff

June 26, 2024 -- In a unanimous vote Thursday, the School Board directed staff to prepare two bond measures totaling $890 million for the November 5 ballot.

The money would be used to modernize District schools in Santa Monica, where voters will be asked to approve a $495 million bond, and in Malibu, where the District would place a $395 million bond.

The Board is scheduled to vote to place the two measures -- which must be approved by 55 percent of the voters -- at its meeting July 24.

In a presentation to the Board, the District's Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton noted that many of the buildings on Santa Monica campuses are more than 70 years old and need "urgent" repairs and upgrades.

A total of 123 buildings are an average of 70 years old, while 73 portable and modular buildings average 30 years in age.

Some two-thirds of he buildings were constructed between 1910 and 1970 and need to have "leaky roofs and failing plumbing" replaced, while others need to have mold removed and water damage addressed.

Some of the structures need to be stabilized for seismic safety, while 55 portable and modular classrooms that are "substandard" are still in use, according to the presentation.

In addition, classrooms and technology need to be upgraded, while science labs, libraries and "technology for college and career readiness" need to be updated.

The estimated tax rate for the $495 million Santa Monica facilities bond is 3 cents/$100 of assessed, not market, value, according to staff.

The proposed bond comes six years after Measure SMS -- a record $485 million bond to upgrade and replace outdated facilities in Santa Monica schools -- passed in November 2018 with some 72 percent of the vote.

Santa Monica and Malibu voters have traditionally approved School District funding measures. Of the seven measures that have been placed on the ballot since 2000, five have passed.

While two parcel taxes, which require 66 percent of the vote to pass, have failed, voters have approved both bond measures, which require 55 percent of the vote.

Measure BB, a $268 million bond, was approved by voters in 2006 and Measure ES, a $385 million bond, was approved in 2012.

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