Measure S Is Crucial to the Support of Students
By Rary Simmons and Nam Jack
Measure S Campaign Committee
It is in our hands to protect our greatest investments — our schools, our homes, our future.
As longtime residents of San Marino, we understand the priceless connection our schools have to our community. Great schools make our community great.
Over the years, our community has been asked to help maintain our schools, which has helped to ensure the highest quality education for our students as well as our high property values. We need your help again. Our schools were built over 50 years ago, so they are long overdue for critical repairs and upgrades to keep pace with modern education, student safety and ever-changing educational standards.
It has been a long-standing problem that the state does not provide adequate funding for our schools. In this case, the state does not provide enough funds for maintenance and upgrades, which is why the passage of Measure S is crucially important. It would provide our school district the ability to access up to $200 million for vital improvements to safety, aging classrooms, facilities and classroom technology — all necessary to support our students’ continued achievement.
San marino schools need critical repairs and updates — Our schools were built between 1918 and 1956, with some renovations made 20 years ago. Many classrooms require essential updates, including security, electrical, heating and air-conditioning systems. The district has identified a project list and a plan for proposed projects by site, reason, priority and estimated cost. To learn more, visit smusd.us/measuresdocs.
Measure S does NOT increase the current tax rate — It will maintain the current tax rate of $60 per $100,000 of assessed value. Although Measure S authorizes up to $200 million, homeowners will pay taxes only on the bonds actually issued. By authorizing this amount now, the district can plan for the future without increasing taxes.
Measure S requires strict local control and fiscal accountability — All funds stay in San Marino. No money can be taken away by the state or used for administrator salaries. An independent citizens’ oversight committee and annual audits are required.
Measure s protects property values — Good schools help keep our property values high. As public and private schools around us have passed facilities bonds, it is important that our schools are safe and have innovative educational environments as well.
San Marino is our home. The future of our schools and community is in our hands.
Vote YES on Measure S.
To Do Right by Schools, Defeat Bond Measure
By Patty Walcha and Lisa Wang
Friends of San Marino Education
We oppose Measure S, the $200 million facilities bond. Doing best by our schools, our teachers, our superintendent and our students requires a “No” vote on March 3.
Excellent public schools are the anchor of our community. We believe the district should be spending MORE, NOT LESS on the quality of our students’ education. SMUSD has fewer AP classes and more restrictive access to accelerated tracks than area public schools. Class sizes are larger than recommended by experts — at any given moment, over 50% of students in grades 4-12 are in a classroom of 27 pupils or more (excluding “large” classes like band, PE, choir and “small” classes like ESL or special ed). Large classrooms don’t enable the kind of student-teacher interaction that create educational excellence, whatever “track” a student may be pursuing. Further, foreign language and arts are too limited in elementary schools.
We support funding for critical infrastructure needs — we are in favor of all the Facilities Advisory Committee’s security and “Priority 1” infrastructure upgrades, replacement of the portable classrooms, upgrades to HVAC systems, and deferred maintenance. Per the FAC’s estimates, these critical items can be addressed for approximately $80 million. It is simply untrue that the only way to get these things is by voting “Yes” now. We can pass a $100 million bond in November that would free up hundreds of millions in principal and interest payments to fund more teachers, expanded class offerings and more college counseling.
Bond funds cannot be used, by law, to fund anything other than infrastructure — not teachers, not training, and not more course offerings. We should not fund a drama center (more than $46 million), district offices (more than $11 million) or aquatic center (more than $8 million), without any concern for how these expenditures impact our ability to raise funds for instruction in the future.
SMUSD’s financial viability depends on an approach that rebalances our spending in favor of instruction. Students have been leaving SMUSD for private schools at significantly increasing rates in the past five years. According to the SMUSD’s own admission, class size and curriculum are significant drivers of student exits. Because most of SMUSD’s state funds come on a per-pupil basis, declining enrollment has drained millions from SMUSD’s budget. Our nearly $3 million operating deficit will grow until we free up monies to invest in educational programming that make SMUSD a more attractive option to more parents.
Vote NO on Measure S.