We write as residents of Montecito. We attended Montecito Union School in the ‘50s; Mrs. Ricci went through the school’s eight grades in its prior building; Sarah Loebman attended it in the ‘80s. Throughout those times, the school was known for the excellent education it offered and for its semi-rural environment — kids walked, rode bikes, or took the school bus.
Of course times have changed, but the school’s semi-rural charm needn’t disappear. Measure Q would fund a large cafeteria/multipurpose building and introduce a larger, more adult scale to the school grounds. Mitigation of traffic and safety issues and the upgrading of present facilities are also to be done. Planning for this bond began some five years ago, but the school’s closest neighbors only learned of it in 2013 after major elements of the plan were largely in place. A study of the impact of these plans on the neighborhood and the environment is required. It is to be carried out after passage of the bond, and a consultant has only recently been hired to guide the Board of Trustees through this process.
After decades of deferred maintenance and code changes, there is little doubt that much of the bond’s upgrade of facilities needs to be done.
We support a reconsideration of the school’s needs that takes Montecito’s character into account. The proposed plans are unseeingly large. We do not support Measure Q.