Four San Marino residents have stepped forward to lead the Measure S Campaign Committee, a citizen organization formed to advocate for passage of the San Marino Unified School District’s proposed $200 million facilities modernization project.
The bond will come before voters at the Tuesday, March 3, 2020 election, with 55% voter approval needed to pass the measure.
Mike Killackey, Sylvia Koh, Alison Moller and former School Board Member Andy Barth will lead the effort and, in Killackey’ words, “do everything we can do to get this passed.”
Killackey and his wife, Stefanie, moved to San Marino nearly five years ago because they wanted their two boys, ages 13 and 10, “to be part of the best schools in California.” The Killackey’s are involved in fundraising for San Marino schools, with Mike serving his third year as a San Marino Schools Foundation (SMSF) trustee. He is this year’s SMSF vice president of grants, while Stefanie serves as Valentine Elementary School’s current PTA president. Mike is also a San Marino Rotarian and member of City Club. Mike has been an attorney for 19 years since earning his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Business Economics from UC Santa Barbara and his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School. Mike volunteers at Grad Night, flips pancakes at Huntington Middle School’s Hauntington Breakfast, is Valentine’s representative on the SMUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) committee, and often greets Valentine families during morning drop-off.
“I support Measure S because I see this opportunity to update our educational facilities, provide state-of-the-art opportunities, and safer schools to our children,” Killackey said. “This will not increase the amount of money our community already pays in property taxes and is a great way to invest in the future of our children and our community.”
Alison Moller and her husband, Erik, have lived in San Marino for 15 years and have two daughters in San Marino schools; one at San Marino High School and another at Huntington Middle School. Alison is a former employment law attorney. She graduated from San Marino High School in 1986 and went on to attend Pomona College and UCLA Law School. She has served or is serving on the boards and committees of many local civic organizations, including the Valentine PTA—where she currently serves as PTA President —the San Marino Schools Foundation, the Academics Advisory Committee, the San Marino chapter of National Charity League, and Girl Scouts, where she has served as a leader for 12 years.
“I believe this capital improvement and facilities maintenance bond is essential to the future of San Marino schools,” Moller told The Tribune. “The district cannot continue to provide the excellent education that I received, and that my daughters are now receiving, unless it maintains and upgrades its aging facilities. This was made clear in the recent Facilities Advisory Committee report that detailied nearly 100 high-priority projects. With the District’s new superintendent in place and the potential for major capital upgrades, our District is entering into an exciting new chapter in its history. I look forward to engaging with the community as we face the upcoming opportunities and challenges ahead.”
Sylvia Koh and her husband, Peter, have lived in San Marino for 17 years and have two children in San Marino schools; a daughter who is a junior and a son who is a freshman. Sylvia earned her degree in Accounting at the USC Marshall School of Business and has put it to use in San Marino as treasurer for multiple volunteer organizations. She has been active in the community, serving in many positions within the PTA, including Carver PTA president during former Principal Liz Hollingsworth’s final year, the Partnership for Awareness board, Girl Scouts, the board of directors for the Chinese Club of San Marino, San Marino National Charity League and the Crowell Public Library Foundation board.
“The capital improvement and facilities maintenance bond is an investment in the future of San Marino and is a critical part of a vision for the sustained long-term success of our schools,” said Koh. “Other school districts such as La Cañada and in other cities have passed similar bonds, and San Marino needs to upgrade its facilities so that kids can learn in a safe, clean environment. The Facilities Advisory Committee spent months working on a report and prioritized what was most important. Great facilities attract great teachers and great families and enhances the value of our homes. Let’s take pride in living in San Marino and continue the legacy of strong support for our schools.”
Andy Barth and his wife, Avery, have lived in San Marino for 27 years and sent all four of their children through Valentine, Huntington and San Marino High Schools, where they graduated in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. The recently retired chairman of the Capital Guardian Trust Company served on the San Marino School Board from 1997–2005, with three terms as president in 2000, 2001 and 2005.
Barth is a trustee at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, the California Science Center Foundation, Columbia University and the International Medical Corps Board. He is a trustee and current chairman of the board for American Ballet Theater and sits on the boards of several organizations focused on amateur and Olympic wrestling.
“We have the opportunity to significantly improve and enhance our already broad range of academics, athletics and the arts without increasing the tax burden at all,” said Barth. “This is a great time to reinforce our academic successes with first class, state-of-the art facilities. This is also the right time to take advantage of the state’s matching funds to bolster our efforts.”
If passed, the bond would not create a new tax, but continue payments from bonds passed in 1996 and 2000.
The campaign committee exists because, by law, school board members are not allowed to advocate for the passage of the bond, but, when asked, may provide factual information.