In a strong endorsement of it schools, South Pasadena residents went to the polls on Tuesday and overwhelmingly supported a $98 million bond measure 6,233 to 2,095.
In the end, voters supported the Measure SP by a whopping 74.84 percent, while only 25.16 percent were opposed.
Those who serve on the local Board of Education say the outcome is a testament to the community’s high regard for the school system and why so many families move to South Pasadena to put their children in the five schools in the district.
Looking at the high numbers in support, school board member Jon Primuth said the results “tells us that the community continues to strongly support the schools, values the education we provide. I hope it’s a statement of confidence and leadership in both the administration and school board. I can assure you we understand the responsibilities involved. We’re going to do the best job we can with the money the voters are going to give us.”
Primuth has spent a considerable amount of time thinking about what the school district needs to do to be good stewards of the money. “It important for us to be in touch with the community throughout the process and make sure we make the wisest decisions as possible,” he said.
Following a comprehensive facilities assessment, SPUSD Superintendent stressed that critical safety updates and renovations are necessary to support 21st-century learning.
Primuth said funds will be used to remove asbestos, repair repair leaky roofs, upgrading classrooms, labs, improve security, make seismic repairs, support continued student achievement in math, science and technology and provide a safe and modern learning environment for all students.
Primuth said SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz is already planning who to hire on both the financial and construction side “to really get our schools to a place where they are excellent for decades to come.”
Julie Giulioni, the president of the school board, said Tuesday’s victory for Measure SP is a confirmation for the students, teachers, the administrators, and the whole district. “It speaks volumes about the confidence the community has for our schools. It also speaks volumes about the commitment that the community has for our kids. The new facilities will compliment the incredible work our teachers and kids are doing. It’s a team effort. It’s all part of the quality of life that we enjoy here.”
Overseeing the funds will be a citizen oversight committee, which will conduc regular independent audits. Organizers of Measure SP are quick to point out that all funding from the bond measure will be spent on improving South Pasadena schools and none of the $98 million will be used for administrator salaries, pensions or benefits.Voter surveys were held to help determine the likelihood of the measure passing. Meetings were held to explain the bond to the community groups, sharing project priorities, while talking about the importance of performing arts, science, technology, engineering and robotics in the classroom. District officials say funds will also be used to upgrade locker rooms, fields, courts and playgrounds.
Suzie Abajian, who also serves on the school board, said the favorable vote for local schools “by such overwhelming numbers just shows how much our community cares for our schools and how much they want to invest in our youth,” she said. “It’s really encouraging in how much our schools are the heart of the community.”
Calling it a “game changer,” Michele Kipke, a school board member, says she’s fortunate to live in a community that strongly supports and embraces its schools, recognizing the importance of bond measures to ensure students are given the best opportunity to succeed. “This will transform our schools and ensure we have facilities that support 21st century learning,” said Kipke. “I can’t thank the community enough for its continued support of our schools, teachers and community.”
The public’s support means major improvements are coming to Arroyo Vista, Marengo and Monterey Hills elementary schools, South Pasadena Middle School and South Pasadena High School. Among the key projects will be to repair and replace/repair roofs, update an outdate heating and cooling systems, upgrade electrical infrastructure and complete outdoor safety improvements, including security cameras.
“This is wonderful for our school district,” said Board of Education member Elisabeth Eilers, adding, “We’ll have new engineering and stronger art pathways, provide science labs and other facilities that will provide our a top notch education. I’m immensely grateful to the residents of South Pasadena.”
Voters of South Pasadena, by voting yes on Measure SP, told the school district that schools are extremely important, according to Yantz, the local school chief, saying he was ‘thrilled” with the results. “They’re saying the future of our students is a high priority. I’m privileged and honored to be a part of an incredibly supportive community that comes together for its schools.”
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Dave Lubs will oversee much of the work at the district’s five campuses. “There’s nothing I’m happier about than providing the appropriate facilities for the students and families of South Pasadena,” he said. “It a great moment for the community to be proud of. It’s a legacy that will continue for the next 150 years and will continue to support this city and community. It’s absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t be more excited.”