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RE: Agenda Item F - History Building

January 20, 2021

RE: Agenda Item F - History Building

Dear President Kean, Vice President Lieberman and Board Members:

Santa Monica Forward is a community-based organization that was created to foster civil dialogue in the consideration of public policies that affect our city. One of our major objectives is closing the achievement gap in our school system and ensuring that educational equity underlies the decision making of the SMMUSD Board.

Santa Monica Forward therefore urges the Board to proceed expeditiously with the implementation of the 2015-2016 Master Plan for Santa Monica High School. This Plan was adopted after substantial public input and the certification of the Final EIR, conducted in full compliance with CEQA Law and Guidelines.

The people of Santa Monica and their elected school board members share a tremendous responsibility: providing a top-notch education for ALL students, not just those who have access to enrichment programs offered outside of our public school system. Modern facilities are critical to providing more equitable access to the best educational tools and resources.

We understand that there has been considerable discussion regarding the adaptive reuse of the History Building. Board members and staff have met with representatives of the Santa Monica Conservancy in pursuing this idea. We also understand that rehabilitation and reuse of the History Building is not possible given the future educational needs of Samohi students. In addition to its infeasibility for reuse, arriving at this conclusion would result in a costly and time consuming waste of effort.

We support your efforts to work with the preservation community in designing a process for including them in future decisions that may affect historic resources. We also understand that the Conservancy is now focusing on the design of this future planning process.

Finally, Santa Monica Forward thanks you for your service to the children and youth of Santa Monica and encourages you to proceed with the Master Plan in the most timely and cost effective fashion possible.


Abby Arnold Carl Hansen

Co-chair, Santa Monica Forward Co-chair, Santa Monica Forward

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