The Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to put a $295 million Safety and Modernization bond measure on the November ballot at its meeting Monday, July 7th.
If passed by voters in November, the $295 million bond measure would be used to improve job and career training, provide safety and modernization improvements and increase educational opportunities at the college. It will need 55 percent of the vote to pass.
“I enthusiastically support this bond,” said trustee Susan Aminoff at the meeting.
Others echoed her sentiments.
“Community-based education is critically important for people to sustain and improve their lives,” said board chair Rob Rader. “With this safety and modernization measure, the college will have the infrastructure needed to fulfill its education mission.”
It appears that there is also strong community support for placement of a bond measure on the ballot in November.
To determine public support, the college conducted two focus groups and a public survey, said Don Girard, SMC senior director of government relations and institutional communications.
All participants were registered voters of the district and were considered likely to participate in the November election.
“The response was quite positive,” Girard said.
Sixty-eight percent of the 500 respondents to the public survey and 13 of the 15 focus group members indicated that they would likely vote “yes” on a $295 million bond measure for SMC.
If passed in the November election, the bond measure would fund Phase III — or the Modernization Phase — of the Facilities Master Plan, which is currently under way, Girard said.
The bond would “allow us to provide important needed renovations to our building facilities so that we can continue to be the number one community college,” said SMC president Dr. Chui L. Tsang.
The funds would be used to replace or “modernize” deteriorating buildings; upgrade fire safety; construct and equip math and science laboratories; improve student training in science, technology, media, communications, computers and emerging high-tech fields; achieve energy savings; and complete earthquake repairs.
“We have a number of projects that will be critical to the modernization of the college,” Girard said.
Several of those projects are the Replacement Math and Science Extension Building on the Main Campus, a new Career Opportunity and Career Advancement Instructional and Job-Training Building on the Bundy Cam- pus and a Media and Technology-Driven Programs Complex on the Academy Campus.
“I think this is a wonderful list of projects,” said board vice chair Louise Jaffe. “I think the possibility for improving instruction [Ö] is critical and part of the core of this project. We need to continue to invest in it. We need first-class facilities to be a first-class institution. I hope the community will continue to support us. I will certainly be supporting [the bond measure].”
The cost of the bond measure would average approximately $1.12 per month for renters and $7.34 per month for homeowners or condominium owners, Girard said.
There would be citizen oversight and annual performance and finance audits, and none of the bond money would be used to fund administration.
“It’s going to be a tremendously good investment for the community,” said trustee David Finkel.