The Santa Monica College board of trustees — which previously voted against putting a $175 million facilities bond measure on the ballot — unanimously approved a smaller $135 million bond measure at a special morning meeting Friday, August 6th.
The $135 million bond measure will be on the ballot Tuesday, November 2nd, and will focus more on the educational needs of Santa Monica College than the earlier proposal.
Santa Monica College called the special meeting to approve the bond measure before a 5 p.m. Friday state deadline.
At a regular meeting Monday, August 2nd, the college trustees rejected the original bond measure because the bond language heavily featured community partnerships with the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
“I am now personally more comfortable with the revisions we have made,” said trustee Graham Pope. “We have moved closer to the intentions of Proposition 39 and the educational intent.”
Proposition 39 allows educational bonds to be approved by 55 percent of voters in the college district, which includes Santa Monica and Malibu.
BOND PROJECTS — The bond, if passed, will cost homeowners in the college district an average of $18.17 per year for ten to 12 years. Renters could be affected indirectly.
Specific projects listed in the bond language include:
n site acquisition and improvements in the district for field space, especially women’s soccer;
n site acquisition and improvements in Malibu for an instructional facility not bigger than 25,000 square feet;
n retrofitting district sports fields for year-round usage;
n replacement or renovation of the Health, Fitness and Physical Education Building;
n improvements to provide childcare and an Early Childhood Development lab facility;
n replacement of earthquake-destroyed tennis courts;
n a new Music and Performing Arts Complex;
n upgrading existing and future district facilities to meet energy-efficient and modern sustainability standards;
n a new Career Opportunity Center; and
n satellite campus parking facilities and roadway improvements.
Approximately $25 million of the $135 million would be earmarked for joint-use facilities in the City of Malibu.
MEASURE U — The new bond measure comes on the heels of Measure U, a $160 million college facilities bond that voters approved two years ago.
Trustee Annette Shamey said Measure U funds are still available and not all of its bond projects have been completed.
The college is bound by law to use Measure U funds only for specific projects listed in the Measure U bond language.
“I’m still bothered by the amount of the [$135 million] bond. I’m still bothered by the timing. I’m still concerned about the rush factor,” Shamey said.
She voted against the $175 million bond, but reversed her position and voted for the $135 million bond.
The $135 million bond projects are different from Measure U projects.
PARTNERS — Santa Monica College planned to include partnership projects such as a coastline marine biology site, life science arboretum and a children’s outdoor fitness park, but these projects were scrapped from the new bond measure.
“The district believes that the foregoing changes would provide most of the needed educational and program benefits that have been previously identified,” said Piedad Robertson, college president.
“The district believes the changes would significantly reduce cost to the taxpayer and increase accountability by eliminating several projects whose timeline cannot be forecast sufficiently,” she said.
College marketing director Don Girard discussed partnerships with the Cities of Santa Monica and Malibu and school district officials during several public meetings this summer.
The City of Malibu is moving ahead with making formal agreements with Santa Monica College.
City of Santa Monica officials have said they are interested in a partnership, but the city and college do not have a specific project list or agreement.
School district officials said they could discuss the issue again in the future if a project piques their interest.