Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Education Group Backs Incumbents, Opposes LV||
By Jorge Casuso
September 27, 2016 -- The Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), which was a major player in the 2014 election, announced Thursday its endorsement of the four Santa Monica City Council incumbents seeking re-election.
After endorsing challenger Frank Gruber and incumbent Pam O'Connor two years ago, Santa Monica’s leading political education advocacy group will back Mayor Tony Vazquz and Councilmembers Gleam Davis, Terry O’Day and Ted Winterer in the November 8 race for four council seats.
The group also endorsed the three incumbents in the race for College Board -- Dr. Susan Aminoff, Dr. Margaret Quinones-Perez and Rob Rader.
In a statement issued Monday, CEPS called the seven incumbents "the most reliable champions of prioritizing education."
The group's steering committee also voted to opposed Measure LV, a grassroots initiative that would require voter approval for most new buildings taller than 32 feet, saying it fails to exempt the construction of schools and restricts the production of affordable housing for families.
The group voted to support Measures GSH and GS, a transaction and use tax and companion advisory measure placed on the ballot by the City to fund public schools and the preservation and acquisition of affordable housing.
"These funding measures are important to education as they create reliable, long-term revenue on which our K-12 schools depend, " CEPS officials said.
CEPS also endorsed Measure V, a $345 million bond to support facilities improvements at Santa Monica College that could include rebuilding the main campus’ art complex and two classroom buildings that were constructed in 1952 ("$345 Million Santa Monica College Bond Measure Placed on Ballot," July 7, 2016).
The measure also could help fund the expansion of field space at Memorial Park and the reconstruction of the John Adams Middle School (JAMS) Auditorium through partnerships formed with the City and School District.
CEPS officials said the group "has consistently supported facilities bonds for SMC as it serves such a large percentage of Santa Monica and Malibu residents, with 57 percent of Samohi graduates taking classes at SMC within four years of graduating from high school."
Two years ago, CEPS had raised more than $54,545 in the final stretch leading up to the election, nearly double the total $31,696 it raised in the previous four elections ("Santa Monica Education Advocacy Group Raises More Than $50K," October 22, 2014).
Campaign finance disclosure statements are due this week.
Launched in 2003 to increase local education funding, the group successfully pressed the City the following year to guarantee at least $6 million annually in City funding for local schools.
"CEPS has worked strategically to rally voters’ support for public education through advocacy and direct democracy," officials said. "This work has led to successful outcomes that now generate over $28 million annually for SMMUSD, over 20 percent of (the district's) annual budget."
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