Dear Editor – Community Calls for Vote on Bond

Culver City school facilities are in poor shape. You can see it when you walk onto any one of our campuses; termite damage, brown drinking water, missing ceiling tiles, inoperable sprinkler systems, outdated electrical systems… the list goes on. It’s likely that any building constructed before 1955 needs repair or replacement. All of our schools were built before 1955. The past five years of recession and the overall underfunding of public education in California have left our school facilities in need of serious attention simply to make them safe and clean.
We are very concerned that, at the July 1st school board meeting, after a year of investigation, three members of the school board blocked the placement of a bond to address these problems on the November 2013 ballot, catching the public completely unawares. Considering the obvious needs, escalating construction costs, and the projected uptick in interest rates, we ask the following:
BOARD MEMBERS HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO MEET, DISCUSS AND VOTE ON URGENT MATTERS IMPACTING STUDENTS We expect that our elected officials will meet as is necessary so that they can discuss and act on important matters. While it is desirable that all five board members participate, the absence of one or
two board members at any of the meetings is not reason enough to stop the process. The board has been elected to do the work of the people. It has a responsibility to move forward despite scheduling conflicts. REQUEST #1: Set up at least five school board meeting dates before August 8th so that all five board members have an opportunity to participate and and can act in a timely fashion.
WITH CLOSE TO TWO YEARS BEFORE ANY EXPENDITURES COULD BE MADE, THE FINER DETAILS OF HOW THE MONEY WILL BE ALLOCATED SHOULD BE DETERMINED AFTER THE BOND IS PLACED ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT Early this year, Balfour Beatty performed a formal “Needs Assessment” with input from district staff, site administrators, teachers and parents. This was a comprehensive, line item study which stated that CCUSD facilities are in “dire need of repair and modernization.” Approximately $165 million would be needed to address all the concerns listed. Considering the lead time necessary to plan out projects and to issue any debt, most decisions on specific expenditures would not be made until the District’s 2014–15 fiscal year.
REQUEST #2: If the dissenting school board members strongly disagree with any of the items in the $165 million list, they should make their objections public in order to exclude that from the bond offerings. Otherwise, it can be acknowledged that there is ample time for a carefully considered process to decide how best to meet our District’s pressing needs.
WE HAVE WORKED ON REVENUE MEASURES BEFORE; WE KNOW OUR COMMUNITY WILL SUPPORT THIS ONE TOO At the school board meeting on July 1st, we learned that 67% of community members polled would be in favor of a bond that would pay for much needed repairs and modernization. Culver City voters have consistently supported revenue measures necessary to address important community needs. There is passionate support for a bond measure to improve conditions at our schools. There will be a passionate campaign on its behalf. We are 100% confident that voters will pass the bond by more than the 55% necessary. REQUEST #3: Let the voters decide on the bond measure.
AFTER A YEAR OF INFORMATION GATHERING, OUTREACH, AND ENGAGEMENT, THE PUBLIC HAS SHOWN ITS PASSION AND SUPPORT. THE SCHOOL BOARD SHOULD NOT DENY THE RIGHT OF THE PUBLIC TO VOTE. The school board should not take away the public’s right to decide. Their only legally required action at this point is to send a 70 word statement to election officials in Norwalk in order to put the bond on the ballot. If at that point they want to work for or against the bond, it is their right as citizens. The discussion of priorities can be mandated to take place after the vote. What is important is providing our students with the best possible learning environment with the least amount of delay. The needs have been assessed and are agreed upon. The details of prioritization of spending and campaigning for the measure can be done after the bond is placed on the ballot.
REQUEST #4: We ask school board members Silbiger, Siever and Goldberg to join school board members Paspalis and Chardiet in serving the needs of the community: Listen to the facts, ask appropriate questions, and then give the public the right to vote on a school bond this November 2013

Crystal Alexander, Former Culver City Treasurer, Yes on EE Campaign Treasurer* Marcia Antopol, Executive Director ­ Fineshriber Family Foundation* Lezlie Brazil, El Rincon PTA President* Anne Burke, El Marino PTA President* Casey Chabola, Linwood E. Howe Teacher; CCHS Lacrosse Coach* Jerry Chabola, Former CCHS Teacher & Athletic Director* Janet Chabola, Owner Tower Insurance* Jeff Cooper, Mayor*
Alan Corlin, Former Mayor & Council Member* Leslie Gardner, Former PTA Council President* Brenna Guthrie, Former CCMS PTA President* Michael Hamill, Culver City Chamber of Commerce Chairperson* Christopher King, Rotary Club President; Member ­ Culver City Homelessness Committee* Scott Kecken, UPCC PAC Chairperson; Former President ­ La Ballona Education Partners* Laura Jane Kessner, Parent Leader ­ Linwood E. Howe Elementary School*
Sandi Levin, Former Mayor & City Council Member* Steven M. Levin, Former President ­ Farragut Fan Club; UPCC Founding President; School Board Candidate* Scott Malsin, Former Mayor; President, Farragut Fan Club; UPCC PAC Member* Scott McVarish, UPCC PAC Member* Heather Moses, Parent Leader ­ La Ballona Elementary School* Maren Neufeld, Former CCHS PTA President; UPCC PAC Member* Dan O’Brien, Former President, Culver City Great Parks Association; Former Executive VP, Culver City Education Foundation; UPCC PAC Member* Mehaul O’Leary, Council Member, Former Mayor* Angela Penchansky, Co­President, Farragut PTA; Membership Chairperson, CCMS PTA* Christie Ramsey, Co­President, Farragut PTA* Dana Sayles, Culver City Planning Commissioner*
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Linda Smith Frost, Culver City Planning Commissioner* Laura Stuart, Culver City Parks Commissioner* David Voncannon, Culver City Planning Commissioner* Bonnie Wacker, Former CCMS Panther Partner President; Former Farragut Fan Club President* Jamie Wallace, Former El Marino ALLEM President*
Paul Walsleben, Linwood E. Howe Booster Club* Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin, UPCC President* Scott Wyant, Culver City Planning Commissioner* Natasha Zarate, La Ballona Parent; UPCC Rep*
* For identification purposes only

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