Measure L2020 will provide school with needed facilities
For those of you who don’t know me, I am the superintendent and principal of the Cold Spring School District. I am a resident and member of the Cold Spring School community. As of last year, I was also a parent at Cold Spring School.
In all of these capacities, I have dedicated myself to ensuring all children receive the best public education possible in a loving and supportive school environment.
Everything we do at Cold Spring School is laser focused on meeting the individual needs of our students. We are a relationship-driven school. We have a team that is extremely dedicated to serving the hearts, minds and souls of our children. Serving our children comes first in everything we do!
All of our teachers work around the clock for our students, including our specialist teachers. As a result, we have been the highest performing district in the state for two consecutive years and a 2020 California Exemplary Arts in Education school.
Cold Spring School has a strong culture of providing students with an enriching environment where creativity and curiosity are fostered. Music, Drama, Art, STEAM and P.E. have been foundational programs of the Cold Spring student experience — allowing students to find and follow passions through exposure to a variety of learning models.
Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Math, one of our newest additions to the specialist program, is an integrated class that weaves the learning of core curriculum into hands-on engineering and design projects. Students work in collaborative teams to tackle real-world problems that have no prescriptive solution. Through these challenges, students apply content knowledge that is concurrent with classroom instruction. The outcomes are far more substantial than simply deepening math and science skills. By working through open-ended projects, students become resourceful and strategic.
Since launching the STEAM program, Cold Spring students have built and installed bat boxes and birdhouses; they’ve built custom ukuleles, programmed homemade robots, planted a native garden and designed a chicken coop for our hopeful campus food forest. The list of student projects is dynamic, and it adapts to the interests and passions of each cohort.
Our STEAM program is one that is vested in our community and recognized throughout the State. The district partners with Westmont College to provide a dynamic experience for both Cold Spring and Westmont students. Last year, the district taught a cohort of students from Cleveland Elementary. We are currently planning to do the same this year. It is our vision to expand upon these partnerships to serve the greater Santa Barbara community.
To accomplish this vision and address other essential school facility needs, the board on June 22 passed a resolution calling for a general obligation bond to be placed on the ballot in November. The ballot measure, Measure L 2020, seeks $7.8 million, the amount calculated to meet the essential facility needs of the district for the next 30 years. The general obligation bonds would be repaid through an assessment on property owners ad valorem property tax ranging from $11 to $14 per $100,000 of assessed value annually. The tax is estimated to be levied for 30 years.
This bond program is not a new program. It has been a part of the facilities planning effort of the district since long before I was hired by the district. The program has been a part of our regular board agenda meetings since my arrival. The Facilities Master Plan dated April 10, 2006, addresses the needs of the district and proposes the construction of a permanent building to replace the portables.
This report is 14 years old. The report also addresses the site circulation issues and the need to move the administrative offices to the front entry of the school for security purposes. We agree with the recommendations made in 2006.
The measure was placed on the agenda only after FM3, a survey consultant, conducted an exhaustive survey of the community. FM3 attempted to reach out to the majority of the households in our community. Admittedly, the response rate was low.
This has to do with our community’s willingness to participate in surveys, not any fault of district staff or FM3.
FM3 attempted phoning, emailing and texting the community to secure participation. Those who participated in the survey were overwhelmingly supportive of the general obligation bond (71% in favor).
Our core school building was built in 1927. Five additional classrooms were built in the early 1950s. The four classrooms in the upper courtyard were built in the late 1990s. The majority of our campus is more than 70 years old. The district has worked hard to maintain our facilities. In the last year, the district has invested $350,000 on much-needed improvements to the campus. Those include replacing inefficient furnaces, replacing skylights that were non-functional, replacing lighting in the classrooms, new door hardware to provide additional campus security, replacing aging projectors, replacing aging furniture in the classrooms, replacing a leaking roof, and many, many other improvements. All of these improvements are funded from operational and categorical (grant) revenues that are simply inadequate to address the larger more long-term problems facing the district.
Measure L2020, which is $7.8 million, would allow the Cold Spring School District to replace the remaining portable buildings with new permanent classrooms to house the specialist program and incorporate flexible, collaborative learning spaces for Cold Spring students.
The bond proceeds specifically will fund:
— Replacement of two aging relocatable/portable buildings with the construction of at least three new permanent classrooms and student support spaces.
The new classrooms would support the Cold Spring School District specialist program including a new science, engineering/mathematics and technology and maker laboratories, and new art classroom.
— Repair and renovate historical classrooms and buildings.
— Repair aging water/sewer lines and other aging infrastructure.
— Replace aging fire alarms and schools wide communication systems, including improvements to campus security and emergency communications.
— Improve campus circulation and safety.
— Repair and replace aging roofs throughout the campus.
— Repair and replace existing restrooms and plumbing.
— Improve, renovate and repair the library, including construction of a state-of-the-art media arts installation.
— Upgrading and improving educational technology infrastructure and wiring to meet modern technology demands.
— Improve electrical wiring throughout the campus.
All the Measure L2020 funds would be spent at Cold Spring School.
The General Obligation Bond proposed by the governing board is a Proposition 39 school bond. These bonds require the board to form a Bond Oversight Committee. The committee must consist of at least seven members who each serve for a term of two years without compensation and for no more than two consecutive terms. Upon passage, the district will open an application process for any community members interested in serving on the committee.
The committee may not include any employee or official of the school district or any vendor, contractor or consultant of the school district. The district’s auditor must also perform an annual independent financial and performance audit of all bond expenditures.
The audit is presented to the Oversight Committee and to the governing board of the district. Finally, no funds may be expended for any teacher or administrative salaries or other school operating expenditures.
I encourage the community to seek the facts by visiting our website coldspringschool.net. We encourage you to see through the misinformation and recognize the hard earned accomplishments of our district. We invite you to be a part of the vision and our deep desire to continue to move forward for our children and those of our greater community.
If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-969-2678. I welcome the opportunity to connect with those who seek to understand and support the children we all serve.
Amy Alzina, Ed.D.
Amy Alzina is superintendent and principal of the Cold Spring School District.