Friday, March 23 , 2018, 8:09 pm | Fair 59º


Santa Barbara Unified School District Discuss Final Facilities Master Plan

Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Dave Cash addressed any confusion head on this week, reassuring locals that officials would use a new facilities master plan as a guiding document for future improvements — not ask for an $800-million bond measure to complete everything on the list.

The district’s bond capacity isn’t even that high, but that’s beside the matter, Cash said, adding that it’s closer to $600 million.

“There is absolutely no way under any circumstance … that there would be any discussion of a $800 million bond,” he said at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. 

"There are many times in the past four years that I have been the superintendent in Santa Barbara that I’d wished we had a comprehensive facilities master plan.”

Board members opted to “receive” the final draft of the Facilities Master Plan, a massive school-by-school wish list compiled by stakeholders inside and outside the district in a process that began in December 2013.

They cautioned locals against feeling sticker shock — project and construction costs in the plan total nearly $850 million — calling the master plan a “living guiding document” that can aid current and future school officials in infrastructure and development decisions by providing context.

“Acceptance could still sound like we have to raise this money,” board member Kate Parker said, asking to use another word (like receive) to describe the latest and final updates to the initial facilities master plan.

“We will not be able to do everything that’s on it at all.”

Board of Education members also asked to periodically revisit the facilities master plan binder, checking to see if priorities need to change.

“I don’t want to see this thing on the shelf,” board president Ed Heron said. “Obviously, it’s a step-by-step thing.”

Officials took special care to clarify plans weren’t imminent after a student newspaper at one of its high schools — the Dos Pueblos Charger Account — initially reported demolition of part of its campus was looming. That story was since corrected.

The plan, which focuses on the next 10-15 years, includes adding amenities like science labs and renovating or replacing classrooms and buildings at 10 elementary schools, three charter schools, four middle schools and five high schools.

Adding gymnasiums to junior high schools was also among potential plans.

The final draft recommended eventually removing all portable classrooms — an item school board members cited as a top priority.

Cash said every school administrator lists that as a main concern, except at Santa Barbara Junior High and Roosevelt Elementary, where there are no such classrooms.

“I really hope the public will take a look at it,” board member Monique Limón said of the plan.

“Some of this is what we need to do. Some of this is what we want to do.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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