Monday, August 13 , 2018, 11:43 pm | Partly Cloudy 66º


Santa Barbara School District May Allow Alcoholic Beverages for On-Campus, Non-Student Events

A new state law allows the use or sale of alcohol on public school campuses when students aren’t present, so Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Dave Cash polled the Board of Trustees on whether to tweak district policy.

From the five members, prevailing opinion seemed to be ... “maybe.”

As of now, no alcohol is allowed on SBUSD school properties, regardless of whether students are around.

AB 2073, introduced by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, permits school districts to use facilities for events involving the acquisition, possession, use or consumption of alcohol when a gathering has a special-events permit (and when students aren’t there).

School board member Kate Parker asked district staff to add an informational item on the topic for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, but no action was taken.

Instead, the trustees gave Cash direction. All of them expressed at least the tiniest bit of interest in allowing alcohol on sites for fundraisers thrown by nonprofit organizations that regularly donate to local schools, such as the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

Where exactly alcohol would be allowed — only high schools, just elementary schools or locations kids never go — wasn’t fleshed out.

Board members asked Cash to gauge interest in the nonprofit community, possibly offering a very limited option for which event organizers would need to obtain a permit from the district and adhere to strict time or security conditions.

“These are things we need to think about,” Parker said, adding that the practice could be OK “in a super-restricted way, maybe on a site that doesn’t normally have students.”

She mentioned the district’s Tatum property, a 23-acre undeveloped parcel with a bicycle and pedestrian path near San Marcos High School.

School board vice president Pedro Paz agreed with Parker, saying it might be best to keep alcohol out of high schools, where students are encouraged not to drink and drive or where they could find empty containers in trash cans. It also could result in an additional cleaning responsibility if facility-use agreements change.

Board president Ed Heron felt the opposite, adamantly opposing any alcohol on elementary school sites.

“That’s not the environment I want to see on our campuses,” he said.

Board member Monique Limón called the option “creative.” She suggested leaving current policy as is while allowing limited exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

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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