MONTECITO, Calif. — Many parents of students in the Cold Spring Elementary School District are hoping Measure L2020 passes on the Nov. 3 ballot.
"It's a 130-year-old campus and a lot of the infrastructure here is many decades old,” one parent Dylan Johnson said.
If approved, the measure would provide $7.8 million in bonds to modernize classrooms, an aging fire alarm system, water and sewer systems.
"The main purpose is to replace aging portable buildings," Cold Spring chief business official and general counsel Yuri Calderon said. “We have three aging portable buildings, one was removed last year.”
"These portables are on their last leg, one of them has already been torn down,” another parent Jennifer Miller said. “The other two are pretty much unusable for classrooms."
The public school district only includes Cold Spring Elementary, which serves nearly 170 kindergarten through sixth-grade students.
"We're at capacity right now,” Cold Spring superintendent and principal Amy Alzina said. “We actually have a classroom that's in our library."
Supporters of the measure say that the new classes are needed to maintain a low teacher-to-student class ratio, which currently hovers around 14:1.
"We really strive to personalize the learning,” Alzina said. “In order to do that, we need classroom space."
However, the repairs would come at a cost of $11-14 per $100,000 of assessed value for property owners.
Furthermore, some residents feel that there was little transparency or community input before the measure was put on the ballot.
Montecito resident Don Miller was stunned when he spotted a story about Measure L2020. Prior to this, he hadn’t heard anything about the proposed bond.
"There was a lot of people that had no idea what was going on,” Miller said. “We just didn't know, we weren't in the loop."
In response, Denice Spangler Adams quickly created the “Taxpayers for Responsible School Spending,” a group encouraging the community to vote no on Measure L2020.
"Eighty-seven percent of the residents in the Cold Springs School District do not have students currently enrolled in the district,” Adams said. “Eighty-seven percent of us were shut out of the process."
The district says it’ll be a burden if the bond doesn’t pass.
"It's one of the best schools in the nation,” Johnson said. “We need this funding to be able to continue that legacy."
"Times are tough, but we also want them to know that their investment in our children is the biggest investment that they could probably make,” Alzina concluded.
Measure L2020 needs 55% of voter approval in order to pass.