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Board to Decide on Improvement District to Bond $650 Million for Santa Monica Schools
By Niki Cervantes
May 15, 2018 -- The School Board is set to decide Thursday whether to create a school improvement district for Santa Monica schools with the authority to issue, ultimately, $650 million in bonds for facility needs.
The board for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School district (SMMUSD) is considering a resolution to form a School Facilities Improvement District as part of the sometimes rocky path toward granting the Malibu community the freedom to create its own district.
A similar motion applying to facilities for the proposed district in Malibu was approved May 3. It said Malibu would need $400 million for its schools.
Both motions give the separate districts authority to issue bonds in one or more elections.
A recent survey discusses a possible bond for the November 6 election reaching an unprecedented $485 million ("Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Looks at Potential $485 Million Bond Measure for November Ballot," May 1, 2018).
The bond would fund improvements at the 12 public schools in Santa Monica, according to the survey, which also studied a possible $250 million bond for the four schools in Malibu.
Since 2002, local voters have approved two bonds measures totaling $643 million, as well as a $346 per year parcel tax with no sunset provision.
The proposed resolution (as was the case for Malibu schools) gives the school district, through the improvement district, the ability to put proposed bonds on one or more ballots for a vote.
Gail Pinsker, a SMMUSD spokesperson, said the $650 million in improvements mentioned in the resolution is not necessarily the amount that might be on a measure for a proposed bond in the November 6 election.
The resolutions “speaks to the overall estimate for school improvements for the schools in each community," Pinsker said. "The board has not yet decided on the bond amount.”
“Once both FSIDs are approved, and the board approves to move forward with bonds, the amount will be finalized and they will go before voters in November,” Pinsker said. “It's a multi-step process,” she said.
“The purpose of the two FSIDs are of interest to each community for local control and for voters in each to vote for a bond that will only go to improvements for schools in their community,” she said. “Funds from each can't be used in the other community.”
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