Shall Santa Monica Community College District increase educational opportunities and raise student achievement; replace or repair deteriorating buildings; construct and equip laboratories, childcare centers and learning resources; meet new needs in emerging technologies; achieve energy savings; improve or acquire real property for fields and instructional use; improve access and availability; reduce costs through potential partnerships; and complete earthquake repairs by issuing, at interest rates within legal limits, $135 million in bonds with citizens' oversight, annual performance and financial audits?
BACKGROUND (source: staff reports to SMC board of trustees, adopted resolution calling for a bond election)
Bond financing is a type of long-term borrowing that a school or community college district uses to raise money for various purposes. There are provisions in both the state Constitution and the Education Code (Proposition 39) that allow school districts and community college districts to issue general obligation bonds that "cause the County to" levy an ad valorem property tax to pay debt service on the bonds.
Proposition 39 was passed by California voters in November 2000. It amended Proposition 13 and, therefore the state Constitution, giving school districts and community college districts (but not cities or counties) the option of proposing facility bond measures that can be approved with a 55% "yes" vote, rather than a 67% (2/3) vote.
Proposition 39 established specific requirements:
Projected cost of bond measure is about $6.40 per month for the average homeowner in Santa Monica and Malibu and about $1.12 per month for the average renter in Santa Monica
- Requires a citizen's bond oversight committee
- Requires the Board of Trustees to adopt a Project List prior to calling for a bond election
- Imposes an annual cap never to exceed $25 per $100,000 of assessed valuation as the maximum cost
- Funds may not be used for operating expenses or for administrative salaries
- The election must be held as part of a general statewide election
In March 2002, Santa Monica College proposed a $160 million bond measure under the provisions of Proposition 39. The bond passed with 70% approval for main campus building replacements and renovations (Liberal Arts, Letters & Science, Main Stage, and Student Activities); centralization of Student Services; new Science wing; new Emeritus facility; property acquisition; off-site parking and construction of off-site classrooms; new campus quad; and safety and technology upgrades (Measure U).
PROPOSAL (summarized from project list (Exhibit A) attached to the resolution calling for election)
This measure authorizes the sale of $135 million of Bonds for capital improvement projects within the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu or at sites that share a boundary and are contiguous with the Cities of Santa Monica or Malibu. None of the bond proceeds can be taken away by the State of California
All projects funded by bond proceeds will be available for authorized educational and public uses.
The college district proposes to maximize the use of bond proceeds available as a result of this authorization by entering into partnership agreements of various sorts with other public agencies whenever feasible. These would be called Cooperative Agreements. Public agencies entering into such agreements would be expected to contribute real property, planning, site preparation, easements, management or other assets to some of the projects identified in the measure.
The district has identified a minimum of $70 million of Bond proceeds proposed to be dedicated to capital projects to be done under Cooperative Agreements.
This amount includes no less than $45 million of bond proceeds proposed to be dedicated for capital Projects to be done under Cooperative Agreements within or adjacent to the city limits of the city of Santa Monica. If no partnership develops, the district intends to make the most efficient use of Bond proceeds by other means to achieve the educational and public benefits of this Bond Measure.
This amount also includes no less than $25 million of bond proceeds to be dedicated for capital Projects to be done under Cooperative Agreements within or adjacent to the city limits of the City of Malibu.
Specific Projects (not prioritized) include:
Accountability to Community
- Replacement or renovation of Health, Fitness, and Physical Education Building.
- Site acquisition and improvements in the District for field space, especially women*s soccer, in order to make available a complete offering of District-provided programs in Health, Fitness, and Physical Education.
- Site acquisition and improvements in Malibu for instructional facility of no more than 25,000 assignable square feet and field space.
- Retrofit existing District fields or other fields available to the District for year-round usage.
- Improvements to provide childcare and an Early Childhood Development lab facility.
- Replacement of earthquake-destroyed tennis courts.
- New Music and Performing Arts Complex to support new University of California admission requirements.
- Upgrades to existing and future District facilities, including Projects done under Cooperative Agreements, for energy efficiency and to meet modern sustainability practices.
- New Career Opportunity Center to support programs in emerging technologies and to compete for State and Federal grants.
- Satellite campus parking facilities and roadway improvements.
All bond expenditures are subject to review by a Citizens Oversight Committee which reports to the public, as provided in Education Code Section 15278 et seq. The district shall assist the Committee by having an annual independent performance audit and an annual independent financial audit on the expenditure of bond proceeds.
Bond proceeds will not be used to purchase residential property.
The district will not unilaterally override city of Santa Monica or city of Malibu land use authority for any Projects done under the Cooperative Agreements within the city limits of the respective city.
The district will involve faculty, staff, and students in curriculum development throughout the life of the bond measure program.
The district will conduct a neighborhood assessment of need as part of the program design of the Career Opportunity Center Project.
The district will conduct a comprehensive assessment of program need prior to making improvements in Malibu for an instructional facility and field space.
The district will provide an opportunity for input from community and neighborhood residents during the development of Projects to be funded by this bond measure.
- A YES vote of this measure means:
- The Santa Monica Community College District would be authorized to issue, at interest rates within legal limits, $135 million in bonds, as stated in The Question above.
- A NO vote of this measure means:
- The Santa Monica Community College District would NOT be authorized to issue $135 million in bonds and would not be able to undertake the projects listed in The Question and in the attached list of projects.
(from Summary prepared by League of Women Voters of Santa Monica Education Fund)
- Summary of Arguments FOR Measure S:
- (excerpted from the ballot arguments for Measure S, campaign literature, and news articles)
Measure S will
- Enhance educational quality and improve safety;
- Cost renters an average of $13 per year and the average homeowner/ condominium owner $77 a year
- Renovate and replace deteriorating buildings
- Build new classrooms designed to teach skills in emerging technologies, and help keep pace with advances in fields such as advanced transportation, healthcare, environmental technology, transport of goods, biotechnology
- Provide a new Career Opportunity Center to teach jobs skills and provide counseling services to help students prepare for entry into the workforce
- Provide a new child care center and child development lab facility that will train hundreds of new early education specialists
- Provide a new Performing Arts complex for instructional and community use to meet UC admission standards
- Provide new athletic field space, especially for women*s soccer, for instructional and community use. Santa Monica and Malibu are both severely deficient in field space for youth and adult sports.
- Modernize energy systems and achieve energy savings
- Provide fire safety and environmental upgrades
- Complete earthquake repairs
- Restore college programs to Malibu and requires City of Malibu partnerships to meet community concerns
- Acquire new ball fields in Santa Monica, which is severely deficient in field space (all fields will be available for public use)
- The $135 million bond will cost $18 per $100,000 for the first year, and $18.17 per $100,000 per year as an average over the life of the bond. By law, the amount may never exceed $25 per $100,000 in any one year.
- Summary of Arguments AGAINST Measure S:
- (excerpted from opposition ballot arguments, news articles)
- If Measure S passes, it will be your third tax hike in three years
- For tenants, it*s another rent hike
- Seniors on fixed incomes are not exempt; the county can sell their homes for failure to pay
- Measure S adds another $135 million to the largely unspent $160 million approved by voters just two years ago
- The measure is an additional $135 million blank check for more development and traffic
- There*s a hidden agenda. Follow the money. Politicians, developers and construction companies will push for this measure because it*s all about more development
- The college has already proven itself to be a bad neighbor bringing increased traffic, parking problems, noise, and litter. If Prop S passes, the College can degrade your neighborhood too
- It entices us with promises of playing fields, but guarantees none
- Although proponents call this a "partnership" between education and government, the SMMUSD and the city of Santa Monica have already refused to partner with Santa Monica College
- Proposition S requires no partners
- Proposition S will hurt the K-12 schools from passing future parcel taxes and bond measures
- Malibu residents will pay full cost but 80% of the bond will be spend in Santa Monica and that*s not fair
- Buying acreage in Malibu for a mega-satellite campus will attract thousands of commuter students. The college will build parking lots -- not playing fields
- By disguising parks and civic projects as educational development, Proposition S takes advantage of an elections loophole to make us pay, yet again, for over development and commuter traffic increases
- The State Accrediting Commission reports: "...the College does not have a process to evaluate the effectiveness of the ongoing planning and resource allocation..."
- Unprecedented votes of no confidence and pleas to reverse "a downward spiral" by knowledgeable faculty and staff have been met with defiance by the administration.
News and Analysis
- Santa Monica Community College District
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