Credit: Celina Garcia

I have lived in my home in the Cold Spring school district since 1995 Both of my children attended Cold Spring, and I participated in all of their events, fundraisers, etc. I also was a strong proponent for the previous 1996 and 2008 school bonds which, according to my latest tax bill, I am still paying for.

I have never voted against a school bond, but I am strongly voting “no” on this one. The timing is terrible, and there is nothing concrete demonstrating that this drastic measure is the best solution to the issues being raised in support of it. I would vote and contribute to replacing the portables. I would support making necessary repairs to any buildings that need some attention. But I’m not seeing any documentation that the current buildings are unsafe from earthquakes or other natural disasters. If people inside the school feel they are not safe, I would suggest they investigate products that could allow cameras to give access to people outside locked gates. It is the school’s policy to have the gates unlocked and perhaps this should be reconsidered if people are concerned with their safety.

My other strong concern is that as with other elections, the people voting are less than 50 percent homeowners in this district. There are apparently over 100 people registered to vote with Westmont College as their mailing address. Why should a young student from other areas or other states, be allowed to vote to commit me to an addition to my tax bill. Why not hold a special election, after there has been some community conversations and more due diligence on the part of the school, where only those actually having to pay for the bond being the only ones able to vote on it?

There is such a great need to have some Montecito community-wide discussion about having the two schools, two districts, two superintendents/principals, etc. It’s a wonderful time to talk about perhaps merging the two schools and using one for lower school and one for upper school. I think even if the general public decides they want to keep the status quo, it’s a long overdue discussion.

Back in the 1990s there was a group of us who spent considerable time and energy working toward a charter junior high school for this area. It was in the early stages of charter schools, and there are issues with the teachers in Santa Barbara being willing to go along with this, but it seems like things have evolved in the last couple of decades to where a discussion might be worthwhile.

I would very much like to see documentation on how the funds from the last two bonds were spent. Where did that money go so that the same needs presented to us in 2008 are now still an issue?

There was money spent digging up the playground for information on some geologic issue? I think Cold Spring school board needs to be very transparent about their expenditures since 2008 before asking for additional money.

I hope this doesn’t label me as someone against supporting our schools, which is not in any way who I am. But I think that before I’m asked to add yet another bond to my tax bill, the school should be completely transparent about how previous bond money was spent and specifically what the bids are for this new funding. There are no specifics here, just a number thrown out saying, in essence, “this should cover our needs.”

Please don’t be swayed by sentiment to approve something which hasn’t demonstrated a serious need or any financial specifics as to how it’s going to be fixed. I love Cold Spring School and want it to be the best school possible, but this isn’t being handled properly.


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