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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Special District

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District School Facilities Improvement District 1
Measure SMS - 55% Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

30,052 votes yes (72.07%)

11,649 votes no (27.93%)

100% of precincts reporting (54/54).

To improve, repair, and modernize outdated Santa Monica classrooms, science labs, libraries, instructional technology and other school facilities; improve school safety/security systems; shall Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's School Facilities Improvement District No. 1 (Santa Monica Schools) issue $485 million of bonds at legal interest rates, averaging $27.4 million raised annually to repay issued bonds through final maturity, from levies estimated at four cents per $100 assessed value, with citizens' oversight, annual audits, and all funds benefitting Santa Monica schools?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel

Approval of Measure SMS (“Measure”) would authorize the Board of Education (“Board”) of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (“District”), which placed the Measure on the ballot by Resolution No. 18-01a, to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $485 million.

Proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by the Measure shall be used only for the purposes specified in the Measure, including, but not limited to, modernization, renovation, expansion, acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, leasing, and/or replacement of facilities within School Facilities Improvement District No. 1, for Santa Monica schools. Projects include, but are not limited to: removing hazardous materials; upgrading building systems; upgrading water, sewer, and gas systems; improving energy efficiency; improving disabled access; replacing portable classrooms with permanent facilities; upgrading technology infrastructure; and upgrading athletic facilities. Bond proceeds may not be expended on teacher or administrator salaries or other operating expenses.

The Board shall cause independent performance and financial audits to be conducted annually to ensure that bond proceeds are spent only for projects identified in the Measure. The Board shall appoint an independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee under Education Code section 15278 et seq. to ensure that bond proceeds are spent as specified in the Measure and as provided by law. The Board shall deposit bond proceeds in a special account and comply with statutory reporting requirements.

Approval of the Measure does not guarantee that projects described in the Measure will be funded beyond local revenues generated by the Measure. District’s proposal for certain projects may assume receipt of matching State funds subject to appropriation by the Legislature or approval of a statewide bond measure.

Bonds shall be issued under Education Code section 15264 et seq., Government Code section 53506 et seq., and/or any other legal provision. The interest rate and maturity date on any bond shall not exceed the maximums allowed by law. According to the District’s Tax Rate Statement, the best estimate of the average annual tax rate required to fund the bonds, based on assessed valuations available when the District filed the statement, is $38 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. The best estimate of the highest tax rate required to fund the bonds, based on assessed valuations available when the District filed the statement, is $40 per $100,000 of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2019-20. The first fiscal year the tax will be levied is estimated to be 2019-20, and the final fiscal year the tax is estimated to be collected is 2053-54. The estimated total debt service required to be repaid if all bonds are issued and sold is $987.9 million, including principal and interest. Estimated tax rates are based on the assessed value of taxable property on official rolls, not on a property’s market value. Properties of taxpayers eligible for a property tax exemption, such as the homeowner’s exemption, will be taxed at a lower effective tax rate.

This Measure requires a fifty-five percent (55%) vote for passage.

Tax rate

An election will be held in School Facilities Improvement District No. 1 (Santa Monica Schools) (the “Improvement District”) of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (the “District”) on November 6, 2018, to authorize the sale of up to $485 million in bonds to finance school facilities in the Improvement District as described in the measure. If such bonds are authorized and sold, principal and interest on the bonds will be payable only from the proceeds of ad valorem tax levies made upon the taxable property in the Improvement District. The following information is provided in compliance with Sections 9400-9404 of the Elections Code of the State of California. Such information is based upon the best estimates and projections presently available from official sources, upon experience within the Improvement District, and other demonstrable factors.

Based upon the foregoing and projections of the Improvement District’s assessed valuation, the following information is provided:

1. The best estimate of the average annual tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue over the entire duration of the bond debt service, based on a projection of assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $0.038 per $100 of assessed valuation (or $38 per $100,000 of assessed value). The final fiscal year in which it is anticipated that the tax will be collected is 2053-54.

2. The best estimate of the highest tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue, based on a projection of assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $0.04 per $100 of assessed valuation (or $40 per $100,000 of assessed value). It is estimated that such rate would be levied starting in fiscal year 2019-20 and following.

3. The best estimate of the total debt service, including the principal and interest, that would be required to be repaid if all the bonds are issued and sold is approximately $987.9 million.

Voters should note the estimated tax rate is based on the assessed value (not market value) of taxable property on the County’s official tax rolls. In addition, taxpayers eligible for a property tax exemption, such as the homeowner’s exemption, will be taxed at a lower effective tax rate than described above. Property owners should consult their own property tax bills and tax advisors to determine their property’s assessed value and any applicable tax exemptions.

The attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon projections and estimates only, which amounts are not maximum amounts and are not binding upon the District with respect to bonds of the Improvement District. The actual debt service, tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary from those used to provide the estimates set forth above, due to factors such as variations in the timing of bond sales, the par amount of bonds sold and market interest rates available at the time of each sale, actual assessed valuations over the term of the bonds, and other factors. The date and amount of bonds sold at any given time will be determined by the District based on the need for project funds and other considerations. The actual interest rates at which the bonds will be sold will depend on conditions in the bond market at the time of sale. Actual future assessed valuations will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the Improvement District as determined by the County Assessor in the annual assessment and the equalization process.

BEN DRATI
Superintendent
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

YES on SMS improves classroom learning in Santa Monica public schools and keeps our teachers and kids safe.

Our teachers are outstanding and our schools are among the best in the country. However, urgent repairs and upgrades are needed to meet 21st century academic and school safety standards.

State funds are not available to address these critical needs.

YES on SMS allows us to fund modern and safe classrooms and other school facilities. It will retain great teachers and protects the quality of instruction in core subjects. This means better teaching, better learning, and greater student achievement.

YES on SMS helps our kids thrive in college and 21st century careers.
-SMS modernizes technology-equipped classrooms and labs, supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) instruction.
-SMS upgrades teaching and learning tools at Samohi.

YES on SMS allows us to repair and replace classrooms that are up to 70 years old.
-SMS increases school security and fire and earthquake safety in classrooms and other school facilities, so kids are safe.
-SMS repairs leaky roofs and aging wiring, preventing dangerous power outages.
-SMS replaces aging plumbing and restrooms, and hazardous floors, windows and walls.
-SMS replaces old, deteriorated temporary classrooms with modern classrooms.
-SMS removes asbestos, lead and other toxic materials from older schools.

Every dollar raised by YES on SMS will be used only for our Santa Monica schools. Not one cent can be taken away by the State.

No money can be used to pay administrators’ salaries. An independent oversight committee of local residents will conduct annual audits and monitor all expenditures to ensure funds are spent properly and effectively.

YES on SMS is supported by teachers, parents, local business and community leaders, and seniors throughout Santa Monica.

Vote YES on SMS!

BEN ALLEN
State Senator

SARAH BRAFF
President, Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association

NATALYA ZERNITSKAYA
President
League of Women Voters of Santa Monica

TOM LARMORE
Past Chair
SM Chamber of Commerce

PATRICIA HOFFMAN
Co-Chair
Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR)

Arguments AGAINST

NO ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS MEASURE WAS SUBMITTED

More information

Additional Info

What is This Proposal?

Information provided by the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica

Santa Monica School Facilities Improvement District Bond                     Measure SMS

 

The Question:

Should the Santa Monica School Facilities Improvement District be authorized to issue up to $485 million in general obligation bonds to improve, repair, construct and modernize school facilities?

 

Background:

The majority of funds for operating California public schools come from the State’s General Fund, but construction and maintenance of school facilities is primarily funded by bond measures.

 

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District voters approved general obligation bonds Measure BB in 2006  ($268 million) and Measure ES in 2012 ($385 million), which were used to repair/upgrade school facilities in Santa Monica and Malibu.  Any funds remaining from these bonds have already been allocated to projects that have yet to be completed.

 

In July, the Board of Education approved placing two separate bond measures on the November ballot, one for Santa Monica (Measure SMS) and one for Malibu (Measure M). Voters in Santa Monica will vote only on Measure SMS.  In anticipation of a possible split of the district, having two separate bond measures maximizes local control and accountability over the bond funding and usage.

 

In 2001, California voters approved Proposition 39 that permits general obligation bonds for school facilities to be passed with a 55% voter approval if they meet additional requirements and a higher standard of accountability. Prior to 2001, the approval threshold for all general obligation bonds was two-thirds of those who voted.  SMS is a Prop 39-compliant measure, thus requiring a 55% approval.

 

The Proposal:

Authorizes the sale of $485 million in bonds to finance the specific types of projects listed in the “School Facility Project List” including:

  • School safety and security upgrades

  • Repairing, modernizing, and replacing aging school facilities

  • Technology and science modernization projects

  • Renovation and improvements of play fields and playground

 

    Complies with Prop 39 requirements for mandatory taxpayer protections:

  • Independent citizens’ oversight committee

  • Annual independent performance and financial audits

  • Proceeds can only be spent on authorized projects

  • Proceeds cannot be spent on teacher or administrator salaries or pensions   


Fiscal Effect:

The best estimate of the average annual tax rate to be levied to fund the bonds over the entire duration of the bond debt service (35 years) is $38 per $100,000 of assessed value of the property.  The total amount estimated to repay the bonds, with principal and interest, is approximately $988 million.

 

        Supporters Say:

  • Safety and security improvements are planned for each campus, including systems that deter active shooters.

  • School repairs and upgrades will provide a safe, modern learning environment as well as replace aging facilities and buildings.

  • All funds raised by these bonds will be locally controlled and spent only on Santa Monica schools.

  • There are no alternative sources of funding for our school’s capital needs.

 

Opponents Say:

        No opposing arguments were submitted.


For More Information:  smvote.org, click on “ballot measures”

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