By Lynne Bronstein
At their meeting Tuesday night, the Culver City Board of Education unanimously approved an election set for June 3 to pass bonds that would fund renovations and installation of new equipment for school buildings and campuses in the Culver City school district.
The election will decide whether the district can issue and sell bonds in the aggregate amount of $106,000,000 to raise money for the repairs that so many parents, teachers, employees, and community members have been calling for.
The money from the bonds would "improve classrooms, science labs, computers/learning technology, repair leaking roofs, old plumbing, inadequate electrical systems, and aging school buildings/restrooms, improve school safety, remove hazardous asbestos, make needed seismic repairs, and upgrade, construct, and acquire classrooms, school facilities, [and]sites/equipment," according to the language of the proposed ballot measure.
As a local measure, the funds collected by the sale of the bonds can not be taken away by the state. The ballot measure will also call for mandatory taxpayer protections including an independent citizens' oversight committee to ensure that the funds are spent as promised.
A bond for a smaller amount was to have been placed on the November 2013 election ballot but that plan was defeated last summer when then-Board members Karlo Silbiger and Patricia Siever, along with still-seated member Nancy Goldberg, opposed it. Since that time, Siever has left the Board of her own accord and Silbiger met with defeat in the last Board election.
Goldberg took a different position on the new measure, telling Culver City news web page TheFrontPageOnline that "there is a world of difference" between the two measures.
Goldberg credited the new measure with more transparency but also cited the fact that the Board had done considerable research this time around and that she did not feel as much pressure as she did last time to "make a rapid decision."
But she was able to joke, moments before the vote came up, that her computer had gone on the blink from the numerous emails she had received from community members.
Support for the ballot measure was evident at the meeting at El Rincon Elementary, where, earlier in the evening, El Rincon principal Reginald Brunson gave a comprehensive presentation about his school.
The presentation included a student who demonstrated the effectiveness of the school's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program by exhibiting his homemade "atom" (made from candy and toothpicks); a student who spoke of her "random act of kindness" in coordination with a school program on community outreach; and a performance by the "Rocking Rockets" school choir, who sang the Preamble to the United States Constitution and other numbers, with a kindergarten student interpreting the lyrics in sign language.