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Measures I and J money earmarked for education and local repairs

School buildings in the Santa Barbara Unified School District could be repaired and improved if Measures I and J pass.

The school facility bond measures would raise more than $190 million by assessing property values.

Santa Barbara High School principal John Becchio said, ” The school was built in 1924 so there is a lot to be upgraded here.”

School board member Ed Heron said the district takes care of 2 million square feet of buildings and 400 acres of land.

Heron said there’s actually about $800 million in upgrades and repairs needed, but not enough money in the regular budget to cover the costs.

He said the measure would allow the district to replace dozens of old K-12 portable classrooms with real classrooms.

Measure I would also allow the district to purchase the Armory located between Santa Barbara High School and the nearby junior high campus.

Actor and parent Billy Baldwin calls that part of the plan a “game changer.”

The armory already has a gym and room for more classrooms that could be used by children and adults and even the Boys and Girls Club.

Baldwin said his own father was a public school political science teacher.

He went to public schools and moved to California to be on a TV series.

He said he chose Santa Barbara over Palos Verdes to be away from Los Angeles, near the ocean, and to send his children to good public schools.

Santa Barbara High School has one gym and a number of basketball teams.

“My kids go to school there now, and there are portable classrooms,” said Baldwin.

He said, “My son plays freshman basketball and they play at 7:30 at night.”

“Here at the armory we have a show-stopping once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Baldwin.

Realtor and parent Jeff Reeves said more property taxes could price buyers out of the area.

Measure I would cost homeowners and $12 per $100,000 in assessed value.

Measure J would cost homeowners $13 dollars per $100,000 in assessed value.

Reeves said that’s about $250.00 on a million dollar house.

He believes many taxpayers feel tapped out

But Baldwin hopes they consider voting yes. He believes good schools increase property values and pay it forward to help future generations.

Baldwin said it is the right thing to do even if his own kids graduate before a cent is spent.

Both measures need a simple majority to pass on election day.

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