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Montecito Union School Moves Ahead with $27 Million Bond Measure on November Ballot

Initiative designed to fund mandated work, deferred maintenance — and a large drop-off loop to relieve traffic congestion on streets around campus

Venturing before voters for the first time since 1997, the Montecito Union School District is placing a $27 million general-obligation bond on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Tammy Murphy, superintendent of the nearly 500-student, single-school district, said the initiative is designed to pay for legally required work and deferred maintenance projects at the campus at 385 San Ysidro Road.

Of the $27.15 million the district is seeking in bonds, Murphy said 71 percent would go toward those two priorities, including accessibility projects, installing shatter-proof windows in case of earthquakes, and replacing outdated plumbing and electrical systems.

“We have buildings that are over 80 years old, to 50 years old, to 20 years old, and the last time we did any work here was 20 years ago,” she told Noozhawk.

At the beginning and end of each school day, the campus draws a lot of traffic, which Murphy noted isn’t safe and “is not being a good neighbor to the community.”

Some of the bond money would fund a large drop-off loop on the adjacent three-acre property the district recently purchased.

“It’ll be a great safety measure because, as you can imagine, the cars get backed up there and others can’t get by,” Murphy said.

There are also plans for a cafeteria so the school can supply its own food services and have a place where the entire student body can sit together. Montecito Union currently has a partnership with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, which delivers food every school day, Murphy said.

In addition, the auditorium — one of the school’s oldest buildings — has a capacity of 280 but enrollment is up to almost 500 students.

“We’re due for this,” Murphy said. “There are some deferred maintenance issues and, certainly, this 80-year-old building could stand some wiring to get us into the 21st century.”

The general-obligation bond must be approved by 55 percent of voters in the district. If it passes, it’s estimated that it will cost property owners $12 per $100,000 of assessed valuation per year.

Montecito Union’s last bond measure was in 1997, when 78 percent of voters approved a $4.5 million initiative. That measure was pitched to voters as a way to replace portable classrooms with permanent ones, replace outdated heating and plumbing systems, provide handicapped access and maintain class-size ratios, according to the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.

Montecito Union is using bond counsel David Casnocha, who also consulted with the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees for SBCC’s bond measure.

SBCC is placing a $288-million bond measure on the November ballot in an effort to fund improvements for its three campuses, including the replacement of the Campus Center, construction of the new East Campus Classroom and Office Building, replacement of a number of old portable buildings, modernization of the Administration and Occupational Education and Student Services buildings, Wake Campus replacement and Schott Campus modernization.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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