We Support Measure E for Excellent Culver Schools

[School Board President Dr. Kelly Kent sent us the statement of support below, and we were granted permission to reprint the following open letters from CCUSD parents supporting the school bond]

Why I endorse Measure E

by Dr Kelly Kent, President, CCUSD Board of Education

I support Measure E, because it is essential to our students and staff. Currently every dollar we spend on building repair and maintenance draws from the dollars we use for teaching and learning. Once we pass this bond, we will have a fund that can not only support our facilities upkeep without taking away from our curriculum and instruction dollars, but we will also be able to build new infrastructure to support more innovative learning environments! I’m Pro-Measure E, because I’m Pro-Student!

Letter from a CCUSD parent

Dear Editor,

Many residents do not realize that the state of California does not have dedicated funds for school facilities—any consistent funding for CCUSD must come from Culver City. This is why a School Bond, Measure E, will appear on the March 5th ballot. Bonds like Measure E can only go on ballots in even years–2024 is our shot.

Whether or not you have students in our Culver City schools, you have likely heard that our facilities are in serious disrepair. To give a few examples from the past two years of our own family’s experience:

Last year my Lin Howe student spent an unanticipated three months having class in the District Annex due to massive flooding of multiple classrooms.

This past December, a literal duck pond (“Lake Panther”) formed on my youngest’s middle school campus after a fairly average rainfall. This is not a new situation.

Students at the high school are taking classes in roughly 20 “temporary” trailers that were installed in the 1980s.

There is not sufficient indoor lunch space for high school or middle school students in case of inclement weather. Many kids eat lunch standing up under overhangs when it rains.

My high schooler’s band class is crammed into a former welding studio that was never intended for music—in fact, no facilities for music have ever been built at the high school despite a growing and well-regarded music program.

I am certain that most families in CCUSD have similar stories regarding their own experiences with our school buildings.

I will be voting YES on Measure E because we are long past the luxury of delay. Our kids, teachers, and staff deserve better than this.

Sincerely, Bronwyn Schrecker Jamrok
Former CCUSD PTA Officer &
Current School Volunteer
Yes on Measure E Committee Member, www.excellentculvercityschools.org

Dear Editor—parents @ La Ballona plead for bond support

This letter to the editor was first printed in Culver City Crossroads.

As members of the La Ballona Elementary community, we are in support of Measure E to renovate and improve our outdated and unsafe facilities. As we shelter from the rain this weekend, the custodial staff and principal at La Ballona are dreading what the days of wet rain will bring.

Will the main courtyard flood from a clogged drain and turn the line-up area into a lake? Will the roof leak into the teacher’s lounge through the already missing ceiling tiles onto the working areas (where lesson plans are created and copied)? How big will the waterfalls get with this rain where two busted rain gutters dump right in front of the newly decorated library and special education office? Will the exterior of the second floor wall give way where the rain pipe has worn out a dent in the wall across two stories?

If the rain lasts until Wednesday, music classes will be difficult for our students who practice on a stage that is in the same room as indoor P.E. class and groups of students gather for cafeteria time. It is impossible to hear the plucking of a stringed instrument, let alone the instructor’s voice. Against the windows in this very “cafetorium,” mold grows on the molding just a couple of feet away from the tables where children eat their lunch.

The smell of moist, old carpets in Building A reminds the staff of what happened in 2022, when major water pipes burst on the second floor and damaged the entire wall and floor structures beneath it. That was a tough two months!

Sunny days are not taken for granted at La Ballona, because outdoors is a great place for outdoor eating, learning, and play spaces. Many of the classes overflow onto sun-soaked tables arranged on concrete and black asphalt without natural shade. Teachers do not have private office space and may have no choice but to conduct IEP meetings via zoom from the garden area, or private zoom calls regarding students’ confidential information on a bench or a stairwell.

Outdated “portable classrooms” arranged around the edges of the asphalt blacktop accommodate art class and intervention classes as well as our youngest preschool and Transitional Kindergarten students. Custodial staff does not have space to properly store cleaning supplies. PTA does not have space to store supplies for community events and after school clubs.

However, as outdated as our school appears, La Ballona is rich with its dual-language immersion program and English-medium program, consisting of a talented team of teachers, including OT and interventionists, classroom aides, librarian, school counselors and education coaches enthusiastically supporting a largely English learning community (>40%) and historically underserved populations. Despite the disadvantages compared to other schools in the district, there is a valiant effort to nurture the education on campus and to embrace social-emotional learning.

It is because of our diverse, highly engaged community of teachers, administration, students and families that we are motivated to listen closely to the needs of the school and to advocate for their great ideas.

We request to have respectful working spaces for our counselors, learning intervention services, special education services, classroom spaces for reading, science and the arts.

Without the funds from Measure E, none of these improvements will be possible. And our kids at La Ballona will continue to learn, play, and grow in unsuitable conditions, rain or shine.

Dr. Huong Nghiem-Eilbeck
Angela Graves
Fabien Ricard
Stephen Jones

This letter was signed by over 100 parents and school community members of La Ballona Elementary. Signatures were withheld by request of the organizers, but were included in the communication with CulverCityCrossroads.