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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
School Bond Measure
Sequoia Union High School District
Majority Approval Required - 55%
Pass: 31,943 / 65.5% Yes votes ...... 16,827 / 34.5% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
To create a 10 year technology fund for upgrading classroom computers; to improve energy efficiency; to build classrooms for career, technical, and vocational education courses; and to improve, expand, modernize and construct classrooms and facilities at Carlmont, Menlo-Atherton, Sequoia, and Woodside High Schools and other district sites; shall the Sequoia Union High School District issue $165,000,000 in bonds at interest rates within the legal limit with all expenditures monitored by an Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee?
The Board of Trustees of the Sequoia Union High School District has proposed this measure which would authorize the District to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $165 million. The bonds will have an interest rate not exceeding the legal maximum and will mature in a maximum of 40 years from the date of issuance of the bonds.
Article XIIIA, Section 1(b)(3)(B) of the California Constitution requires that the District list the specific school facilities projects to be funded from the bond revenue and certify that the Board has evaluated safety, class size reduction, and information technology needs in the development of that list. The District's "Bond Project List" for the proposed bond is attached to the full text of the measure and can be generally described as follows: renovate and construct classrooms and restrooms; acquire and install energy-saving improvements; replace existing and acquire new classroom computers and technology and network equipment; repair or replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; upgrade, replace and install building systems such as plumbing, electrical and life safety systems; renovate, upgrade and equip sports facilities; upgrade, replace or install utility systems; make exterior and ground improvements including lighting, security and landscaping; and remove hazardous materials.
In accordance with state law, the measure requires the District to take certain steps to account for the proceeds from the sale of the bonds as set forth in Article XIIIA, Section 1(b)(3) of the California Constitution and Education Code sections 15272 et seq. The District must appoint a citizens' oversight committee and conduct annual independent performance and financial audits to assure that funds are spent only on the listed school and classroom improvements and for no other purposes.
A "yes" vote on this measure would authorize the Sequoia Union High School District to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $165 million to: renovate and construct classrooms and restrooms; acquire and install energy-saving improvements; replace existing and acquire new classroom computers and technology and network equipment; repair or replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; upgrade, replace and install building systems such as plumbing, electrical and life safety systems; renovate, upgrade and equip sports facilities; upgrade, replace or install utility systems; make exterior and ground improvements including lighting, security and landscaping; and remove hazardous materials.
A "no" vote would preclude Sequoia Union High School District from issuing the bonds.
This measure passes if 55% of those voting on the measure vote "yes."
|Arguments For Measure J||Arguments Against Measure J|
|Measure J is about building for the future and preparing our high school students to excel in a
To excel, students must develop computer skills to master the changing technology in today's college classroom and workplace. That's why Measure J will create a 10-year fund for ongoing technology improvements in the classroom.
Our students must be able to connect classroom lessons with the demands of the 21st Century work environment. That's why Measure J will build classrooms for career, vocational and technical education where students will receive instruction and experience in areas like biotechnology, robotics, and health sciences.
By optimizing our schools' ability to use renewable energy, we can increase the funds available for instruction. Every dollar saved through energy efficiency can be used to strengthen classroom programs. That's why Measure J will invest in energy saving technologies at all of our schools.
Each high school -- Carlmont, Menlo-Atherton, Sequoia and Woodside + will benefit directly. Measure J will build 60 new classrooms and renovate 30 more to keep up with the demands of our growing enrollment. Measure J will build a small high school for about 400 students in East Palo Alto designed to help them succeed academically in a smaller learning environment.
To improve student safety and protect facilities at each high school, new security systems will be installed and each school's infrastructure will be upgraded.
Measure J is an investment in success. Test scores are up. Our high schools have received California Distinguished School Awards. Newsweek lists them among the top high schools in America.
The cost of Measure J is reasonable: $9.73 per $100,000 assessed value (not market value). Join us in voting Yes on Measure J. It's a vote for the future of our students and our community.
Learn more at http://www.CommunityforSequoia.org
Keith P.J. Bautista Former President, D.E.S. Architects & Engineers
Don Horsley Former Sheriff, San Mateo County
Leslie Tang Schilling Regent, University of California
Deborah Stipek Dean, Stanford University School of Education
Gregory R. Stroud Retired Vice-President, Sun Microsystems
In 1996 the District passed a $45 million bond to "upgrade & modernize the schools".
In 2001 they passed an $88 million bond to "complete renovation & modernization".
In 2004 they passed a $70 million bond to "continue to modernize, improve, & expand facilities".
In 2008, they want another $165 million bond, to "repair, rehabilitate, and upgrade" facilities.
Apparently the average round of bonds buys only 4 years of "modernization" (while taxes for bonds endure 30-40 years).
Could these trustees plan 5 years into the future, let alone 10 years?
Prior to the 1996 bond, the District was debt-free. It's time we returned to a pay-as-you-go discipline.
Bonds are not a "reasonable" way to fund facilities improvements. Almost 56 cents of every dollar spent would be interest payments.
Real energy efficiency pays for itself. Borrowed money doubles cost and delays breakeven.
On a tax base of $53 billion, an assessment of $9.73/$100,000 would raise only $5.15 million, or 3.12% of the bond amount--not even enough to cover interest. Although Measure J would increase District debt by 83%, the claim it would increase the cost by only 47% is very misleading.
We estimate total cost (with interest) of the proposed bond at $1,100,000 per District classroom, or $4,200 per household.
But there is a better way...
The undersigned proponent(s) or author(s)of the rebuttal to argument in favor of Ballot Measure J at the Presidential Primary Election for the Sequoia Union High School District to be held on February 5, 2008, hereby state that such argument is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.
Christopher VA Schmidt Taxpayers' Advocate
Harland Harrison Chair, Libertarian Party of San Mateo County
John J. "Jack" Hickey Healthcare District Director
JoLene Hickey Great Grandmother
|Thanks to revenue growth that far outpaced inflation, our schools have plenty of money to work with,
without resorting to additional borrowing.
For example, in 2005-2006 (the most recent year for which data are available from Ed-Data*) the District got
$300,000 in General Fund revenue for the average class of 26.9 students, of which $82,000 was used to pay
the teacher's salary and benefits.
That left $218,000 per class that year for other spending, like building improvements or special instructional facilities, if the District had chosen to make those things a priority, rather than spending so much on ancillary staff. (The District had approximately 282 classrooms, and employed 781 people.)
In the 9 years since 1996-1997, General Fund revenue exploded from $43.6 million to $84.6 million, with annual increases averaging 7.7%, as inflation averaged only 2.2%, and attendance grew only 1.6% per year. Around 70% of the General Fund is unrestricted money, --and that doesn't include any of the $203 million in bonds that voters already approved for school modernization and expansion during this time.
If the trustees want to further increase spending on technology and facilities, it is entirely within their power to do so today, without another property tax hike.
Vote `no'. They have plenty of money already.
Christopher VA Schmidt Taxpayers' Advocate
John J. "Jack" Hickey Healthcare District Trustee
Every no vote sends the message that this generation of students must "get by" without the preparation and skills needed to succeed.
Measure J is a school bond. Bonds are designed to pay for the construction and renovation of school facilities. Measure J's opponent would rather have the district using instructional dollars for construction -- forcing schools to lay off teachers and significantly increasing class sizes. That would hurt our students.
Measure J will address specific needs at each of our community high schools - Carlmont, Menlo-Atherton, Sequoia and Woodside High Schools. Measure J will -
Please join us in voting Yes on Measure J.
Don Eaton Former Mayor, San Carlos
Barbara Pierce Mayor Redwood City
Terry Thygesen Board President, Menlo Park City School District
Vincent Truscelli Redwood City Senior Affairs Commissioner
John R. Violet Belmont City Treasurer
|Full Text of Measure J|
|This Proposition may be known and referred to as the "High Schools Improvement Bond of 2008" or as "Measure ____". [designation to be assigned by County Registrar of Voters]
By approval of this proposition by at least 55% of the registered voters voting on the proposition, the Sequoia Union High School District shall be authorized to issue and sell bonds of up to $165,000,000 in aggregate principal amount to provide financing for the specific school facilities projects listed in the Bond Project List attached hereto as Exhibit A, subject to all of the accountability safeguards specified below. Proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by this proposition shall be used only for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities, and not for any other purpose, including teacher and administrator salaries and other school operating expenses. Proceeds of the bonds may be used to pay or reimburse the District for the cost of District staff when performing work on or necessary and incidental to the bond projects.
The provisions in this section are specifically included in this proposition in order that the Sequoia Union High School District's voters and taxpayers may be assured that their money will be spent wisely to address specific facilities needs of the Sequoia Union High School District, all in compliance with the requirements of Article XIII A, Section 1(b)(3) of the State Constitution, and the Strict Accountability in Local School Construction Bonds Act of 2000 (codified at Education Code Sections 15264 and following).
Evaluation of Needs. The Board of Trustees has prepared an updated facilities plan in order to evaluate and address all of the facilities needs of the Sequoia Union High School District at each campus and facility, and to determine which projects to finance from a local bond at this time. The Board of Trustees hereby certifies that it has evaluated safety, class size reduction and information technology needs in developing the Bond Project List. Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee. The Board of Trustees shall establish an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee (pursuant to Education Code Section 15278 and following), to ensure bond proceeds are spent only for the school facilities projects listed in the Bond Project List. The committee shall be established within 60 days of the date when the results of the election appear in the minutes of the Board of Trustees.
Annual Performance Audits. The Board of Trustees shall conduct an annual, independent performance audit to ensure that the bond proceeds have been expended only on the school facilities projects listed in the Bond Project List. Annual Financial Audits. The Board of Trustees shall conduct an annual, independent financial audit of the bond proceeds until all of those proceeds have been spent for the school facilities projects listed in the Bond Project List.
Special Bond Proceeds Account; Annual Report to Board. Upon approval of this proposition and the sale of any bonds approved, the Board of Trustees shall take actions necessary pursuant to Government Code Section 53410 and following to establish an account in which proceeds of the sale of bonds will be deposited. As long as any proceeds of the bonds remain unexpended, the Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services of the District shall cause a report to be filed with the Board no later than December 31 of each year, commencing December 31, 2009, stating (1) the amount of bond proceeds received and expended in that year, and (2) the status of any project funded or to be funded from bond proceeds. The report may relate to the calendar year, fiscal year, or other appropriate annual period as the Superintendent shall determine, and may be incorporated into the annual budget, audit, or other appropriate routine report to the Board.
BOND PROJECT LIST
The Bond Project List attached to this resolution as Exhibit A describes the specific projects the Sequoia Union High School District proposes to finance with proceeds of the bonds. Listed construction projects, repairs, rehabilitation projects and upgrades at various school sites will be completed as needed according to Board-established priorities. The final cost of each project will be determined as plans are finalized, construction bids are awarded, and projects are completed.
Certain construction funds expected from non-bond sources, including State grant funds for eligible projects, have not yet been secured. Until all project costs and funding sources are known, the Board of Trustees cannot determine the amount of bond proceeds available to be spent on each project, nor guarantee that the bonds will provide sufficient funds to allow completion of all listed projects. Completion of some projects may be subject to further government approvals by State officials and boards, and to local environmental review. For these reasons, inclusion of a project on the Bond Project List is not a guarantee that the project will be funded or completed.
Each project is assumed to include its share of costs of the election and bond issuance, construction management, architectural, engineering, inspection and other planning costs, legal, accounting and similar fees, independent annual financial and performance audits, a customary contingency for unforeseen design and construction costs, and other costs incidental to and necessary for completion of the listed projects (whether work is performed by the District or by third parties).
The Bond Project List shall be considered a part of this ballot proposition, and shall be reproduced in any official document required to contain the full statement of the bond proposition.
Specific Purposes. All of the purposes enumerated in this proposition shall be united and voted upon as one single proposition, pursuant to Education Code Section 15100, and shall constitute the specific purposes of the bonds, and proceeds of the bonds shall be spent only for such purposes, pursuant to Government Code Section 53410. Other Terms of the Bonds. When sold, the bonds shall bear interest at an annual rate not exceeding the statutory maximum, and that interest will be made payable at the time or times permitted by law. The bonds may be issued and sold in several series, and no bond shall be made to mature more than 40 years from the date borne by that bond
SEQUOIA UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT BOND PROJECT LIST IMPROVEMENTS FOR INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS
Carlmont High School