Samohi Construction: Work continues to be done on the Santa Monica High School campus Exploration Building, part of the district’s Samohi Campus Plan. Photo by Thomas Leffler

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will consider selling $175 million worth of bonds at their upcoming meeting as part of an agenda heavy on facility and infrastructure discussions.

At Thursday’s meeting, the board will discuss sale of general obligation bonds, relating to school facility improvements approved in 2018. Measure SMS, passed in November 2018 with 72 percent support from Santa Monica voters, approved of a $485 million general obligation bond to be primarily used in implementing the Santa Monica High School Campus Plan.

Thursday’s potential bond issuance is the third such series, with this round in an amount not to exceed $175 million. In October 2019, the district issued the first series of bonds under Measure SMS in the amount of $110 million, followed by a second series of bonds in the principal amount of $200 million.

Improvements to Samohi already completed from Measure SMS funding include various safety measures, such as adding cameras, fire alarms and electronic locks. Funding from the measure also includes work in progress on the campus’ Exploration Building.

The board will also hear an update on district maintenance and operations, specifically on actions taken during the summer months.

For Samohi, renovations to the campus athletic field took place over the summer, along with roof and ceiling repairs to the schools’ Textbooks office and HVAC unit replacement at Barnum Hall.

Athletic field renovations also took place over the summer at John Adams and Lincoln middle schools. Construction within JAMS included a full restoration of several classrooms, which involved waterproofing of exterior walls, caulking of window frames and glass sealing. For Lincoln, a “tuff shed” was installed at the campus’ North West Field, and both roof and ceiling repairs were done at the school’s cafeteria.

Elementary school repairs also focused heavily on roof and ceiling repairs. Repairs were done for Grant Elementary’s cafeteria, library and several classrooms; along with similar repairs to rooms at McKinley Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary and Webster Elementary. At Edison Learning Academy, 2,896 square feet of concrete deck was repaired on the campus’ second story due to cracks, and concrete sections were replaced in school walkways.

Over the summer, each school was graded utilizing the Facility Inspection Tool (FIT) developed by California’s Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) in several categories, such as systems, cleanliness, electrical and safety. Campuses are given a rating based on an average percentage of the categories, ranging from “poor” to “exemplary.”

The majority of SMMUSD schools were given a “fair” rating by the FIT inspection, meaning the schools finished between the 75 and 89.99 percentile over relevant categories. Samohi’s “fair” grade was an improvement over the 2022-23 FIT result of 57.11 percent, a “poor” grade by the OPSC metric.

Out of all SMMUSD schools, Edison was given the best grade by FIT for the second year in a row. After a grade of 97.48 percent in 2022-23, the school once again nearly met the extremely high standards of the “exemplary” grade, finishing at a top-notch “good” grade of 96.26 percent.

Along with the facilities discussions, the board will also enter a study session on Thursday, receiving a presentation on the 2022-23 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) student performance data. The Q1 Lag Metrics Report will also look at STAR Reading and Math results and their correlation to the CAASPP assessment.

Thomas Leffler has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Penn State University and has been in the industry since 2015. Prior to working at SMDP, he was a writer for AccuWeather and managed...