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The COVID-19 crisis, now entering its sixth month, has caused turmoil, sacrifice, tragedy, and sorrow throughout our community. Yet it has also reminded us of the strength, tenacity, decency ,and caring of the citizens and families of the Goleta Valley.

Nowhere is this more true than in Goleta’s public schools. It goes without saying that there have been enormous challenges and, yes, some disappointments as our teachers and staff have worked round-the-clock to navigate their way through this crisis.

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We’ve watched our school district leaders, teachers, and staff members spring into action over the past seven months — preparing study packets for remote learning, handing out meals to students, and identifying improved internet connections. This crisis has reinforced that our schools are more than just a collection of buildings and classrooms. They are a place where our children not only learn but also connect, explore, grow and thrive. Our schools are at the very core of what we stand for as a community and are Goleta’s most valuable public resource.

This is why we so strongly support Measure M, an $80 million improvement bond for Goleta’s public schools. Measure M will not only repair and improve our schools and classrooms, its passage is also critical to the protection of our neighborhoods and the rebuilding of our local economy. Consider these facts:

•  Quality schools protect housing values. Ask any new home buyer. The quality of a local school has an enormous impact on the price of a home. By repairing and upgrading classrooms and school campuses, we will be strengthening the worth of our neighborhoods for generations to come.

•  We need to make a long-term investment. Our local economy has been battered. Good schools attract businesses, retain employees, help to share prosperity, and build a stronger community. Construction projects such as renewable energy boost local business activity while paying for themselves over the long run.

•  Our students must have the tools to remain competitive. The world has changed, making today’s educational challenges greater than ever. Our children need up-to-date access to programs and technology to ensure they have the top academic skills needed to excel.

The Goleta Union School District has not asked voters to approve a school bond in more than 20 years.

There has never been a more critical time to invest in Goleta’s schools. 

There has never been a more critical time to improve the education of our children. 

And there has never been a more critical time to come together for the future of our community. 

If there were ever a right time to invest in our schools, it is now.

Please join us in voting Yes on Measure M.

Yvonne DeGraw is the technical editor and past president for the Goleta Board of Education; Dana Costello is an Ellwood Elementary School parent, and Dr. Lanny Ebenstein is a past president of the Santa Barbara Board of Education.

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