As a homeowner and the parent of three children in Malibu public schools, I am enthused and concerned, respectively, about the potential outcomes for Proposition X on the Nov. 3 ballot. While there is no formal opposition to this school bond measure – in large part, because it will cause no net increase in our property taxes – the impact of this decision, either way, will be strongly felt.
My enthusiasm comes from the improvements that will be made to our local schools if this bond measure does pass! All three elementary schools will gain much-needed classroom space, and will benefit from enhancements to facilities ranging from earthquake and safety upgrades to increased space for enrichment and after-school activities. Malibu High School will add a 10-classroom building and a high school-quality gymnasium and track, as well as update its auditorium. How proud we will all be of the educational standards that can be met with these improvements, and of the students that benefit from them!
My concern stems from the possibility that Proposition X may not pass. As with all bond measures, it requires the approval of 67 percent of the voters. Although residents of our district have made education a high priority in the past, it is always a challenge to achieve the necessary result at the polls. If the bond loses by even 1 percent, our schools will continue to be vastly overcrowded. Currently, the high school has 25 percent more students than it was built to accommodate! Children are taught in the teachers’ lounge and in gymnasium team rooms. Point Dume did not receive the basic improvements from the ES bond, as it had not reopened yet, and is in desperate need of reconstruction. Some improvements are mandated by law, and without this bond the district will need to squeeze funds from its annual operating budget, taking from current programs.
Of course, the benefits of strong public schools go to those without school-age children, as well. We will all see our property values enhanced, and, due to the refinancing of previous debt at lower interest rates, we will not see our property taxes rise above current levels. Also, a portion of the bond proceeds will go directly to improving recreational facilities on school grounds, which will increase the ability of the community to share in their usage.
Please vote “Yes on X”, and remember – your vote doesn’t count unless you send in your absentee ballot on time or make it to the polls on Nov. 3!
Colleen O’Beirne Brydon
PTA co-president, Webster School
PTSA parliamentarian, Malibu High School