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Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA June 3, 2014 Election
Measure J
Bonds
Union School District

55% Approval Required

Pass: 5958 / 68.83% Yes votes ...... 2698 / 31.17% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Jul 9 6:44pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (31/31)
Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Tax Rate Statement | Full Text

To improve local elementary/middle schools by fixing/replacing leaky roofs, improving safety/fire/security systems, adding classrooms to avoid overcrowding, keeping schools clean/well-maintained, providing updated classroom technology and teacher training for new technology, updating, renovating, acquiring, constructing/equipping classrooms, science/project labs, sites or facilities, shall Union Elementary School District issue $125 million in bonds at legal rates, with citizen oversight, annual audits, no funds for administrators' salaries, all funds staying in local Union schools?

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
A "yes" vote is a vote to authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds in the amount of up to $125,000,000 to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the District.

A NO vote on this measure means:
A "no" vote is a vote not to authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds in the amount of up to $125,000,000 to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the District.

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel
Upon approval of 55% of the votes cast by voters in an election and subject to specified accountability measures, California law permits school districts to issue bonds, secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property within a district, for the purpose of 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.

The Board of Trustees (Board) of the Union School District (District) proposes issuing bonds in the amount of up to $125,000,000. As identified in the measure, bond proceeds would be used to undertake a variety of projects identified in the ballot measure at certain elementary and middle schools, including but not limited to the following: (1) fixing/replacing leaky roofs; (2) improving safety/fire/security systems; (3) adding classrooms to avoid overcrowding; (4) keeping schools clean/well-maintained; (5) providing updated classroom technology and teacher training for new technology; and (6) renovating, acquiring, constructing/equipping classrooms, science/project labs, sites or facilities. A detailed list of projects and allowed expenditures is included within the full text of the measure.

The California Constitution provides that the bond proceeds may not be used for teacher or administrator salaries or other school operating expenses. The District would appoint an independent citizens' oversight committee and have annual independent performance and financial audits conducted to ensure bond proceeds are expended only for the school facilities on the bond project list in the ballot measure.

The District's best, and highest, estimate of the tax rate to be levied to fund the proposed bonds during each fiscal year is $30.00 per $100,000 of assessed value. This includes the fiscal year after the initial sale of the bonds (expected to occur in 2014-2015), and the fiscal year after the final sale of the bonds (expected to occur in 2040-2041).

Measure J was placed on the ballot by the Board.

A "yes" vote is a vote to authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds in the amount of up to $125,000,000 to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the District.

A "no" vote is a vote not to authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds in the amount of up to $125,000,000 to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the District.

Orry P. Korb
County Counsel

By: /s/Lizanne Reynolds

Deputy County Counsel

 
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Arguments For Measure J Arguments Against Measure J
Vote Yes on J to keep our excellent neighborhood schools safe, clean and well-maintained, and to provide a 21st-century education that local students need to excel.

Neighborhood elementary and middle schools in the Union Elementary School District are among the best in California, with high test scores, excellent teachers and outstanding academic programs.

To keep our schools on top, Measure J is needed now. Classrooms and labs require critical repairs to improve student safety and keep our schools well-maintained. Our schools also need additional classrooms to avoid school overcrowding as student enrollment continues to grow.

In order to provide students with the skills they need to excel in our 21st-century economy, Measure J will upgrade science labs and classroom technology.

Measure J will complete basic safety repairs, including fixing leaky roofs, replacing old and inefficient heating, cooling and plumbing, and upgrading fire and earthquake safety systems to improve student safety.

We simply cannot rely on Sacramento to fund the essential repairs that our schools need to continue student success. Measure J will provide local funds for neighborhood schools that cannot be taken by the state.

Measure J will:

  • Fix or replace leaky roofs
  • Replace outdated fire alarms, and improve safety and security systems
  • Add classrooms to avoid overcrowding
  • Keep schools clean and well-maintained
  • Provide updated classroom technology and teacher training for new technology
  • Update school science labs

Measure J lncludes Strict Fiscal Accountability
  • Citizen oversight and annual public audits will ensure funds are spent as promised
  • No funds will be used for administrators' salaries, benefits or pensions
  • All funds will benefit our schools--the state can't take a single penny

Our neighborhood schools are a source of pride, helping to keep our community safe and strong. Join parents, teachers, staff and local community leaders--vote Yes on J!

/s/ Bruce Meisenbach
Retired 27 year resident and Certified Fire Safety Trainer

/s/ Michael D. Norcia
Local Business Owner

/s/ Julie Guglielmo
Union School District Citizen Oversight Committee Member

/s/ Meghan Burton
Home & School Club Board Member and USD Parent Volunteer

/s/ Edward L. Chirco
Chair, Cambrian Community Council

Rebuttal to Arguments For
When school boards ask voters to go into debt with bond measures like Measure J, what are they saying? They want to borrow money, in part, to pay for the following:

1. Keep schools clean and well maintained
2. Provide updated classroom technology
3. Fixing leaky roofs
4. Teacher training for new technology
If you want your house cleaned, do you take out a 25 year loan to hire a cleaning service?

No? But, that's what the Union School District is asking you to approve.

If you want to buy a laptop computer, do you take out a 25 year loan to pay for it?

No? But, that's what the Union School District is asking you to approve.

If your roof needs a leak fixed, do you take out a 25 year loan to pay for it?

No? But, that's what the Union School District is asking you to approve.

If you wanted to learn about computers, do you take out a 25 year loan to hire a geek to teach you?

No? But, that's what the Union School District is asking you to approve.

No sane person would do such things. And at a cost that could exceed $23,000 per student -- NOT counting interest expense.

This is irresponsible behavior. Don't reward bad behavior! Vote NO on Measure J.

Is this the best use of $125,000,000 plus interest of your money?

Let's teach the School Board to be more responsible by voting NO on Measure J.

For more information, visit http://www.SVTaxpayers.org/2014-06-union-sd-bond.

/s/ Mark W.A. Hinkle
President: Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

/s/ Edward Leo Wimmers
Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County

When school boards ask voters for permission to go into debt with bond measures like Measure J, what are they saying? They are admitting that everything they are spending your tax dollars on, now, is more important than the projects in this ballot measure.

Budgets reflect priorities. Union School District is saying every educational dollar spent today is going to something they consider a higher priority than having schools "safe from fire, earthquake, etc."

Do you agree?

Education Data Partnership (www.Ed-Data.K12.ca.us) shows at least 5,298 students in Union School District, which means the bond cost could exceed $23,000 per student -- NOT counting interest expense. When you buy a home, "truth in lending" laws require that you be told the real cost of buying that home. For example:

Borrowing $125,000 and paying 3% interest for 25 years, means payments of $7,113/year in principal and interest, for a lifetime cost of $177,825.
Shouldn't consumer protection laws apply to bond issues, too? As taxpayers, we deserve to know the full truth about Measure J. We don't even know when the debt will begin, let alone what the market interest rate will be, when it does.

Which is more important to you?

1. Meeting current building safety codes for "fire, earthquakes, etc." now, by using our educational dollars already in the schools' budgets.

2. Sending new tax dollars -- in the form of principal and interest payments -- to big banks, investment brokers, and other wealthy people, for use as a tax shelter.

Is #2 really the best use of our tax dollars?

If you value children's health and safety more than funding tax shelters, vote NO on Measure J.

If you value school maintenance more than making interest payments for 25 years, vote NO on Measure J.

For more information, visit http://www.SVTaxpayers.org/2014-06-union-sd-bond.

/s/ Mark W.A. Hinkle
President: Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

/s/ Edward Leo Wimmers
Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The authors of the argument against Measure J oppose every single school measure on the ballot, every year. If these ideologues lived in our neighborhoods, they would understand that our schools are our community's top priority.

Our elementary and middle schools are a community asset. They contribute to safer, stronger and desirable neighborhoods, keeping property values strong for all.

Because our schools prioritize academic excellence, strong educational programs and innovative classroom instruction, they are top in the state. To keep our schools among the best, Measure J is critical now.

The fact is there is no other source of funding available to complete the repairs and upgrades our schools need to continue excellent education.

We simply can't rely on the state to repair our schools. Measure J is the solution. It provides locally controlled funding that cannot be taken by the state.

Measure J is targeted to our top priorities: student safety and strong, 21st-century education. Measure J will:

  • Improve school safety by replacing outdated fire alarms and security systems

  • Complete basic repairs, fix leaky roofs and upgrade classrooms

  • Continue strong, 21st-century education with upgraded technology and science labs

  • Avoid classroom overcrowding

Measure J is fiscally responsible.

  • Citizen oversight and annual audits are required by law

  • No funds can be used for administrators' salaries, pensions or benefits

  • Every penny benefits our neighborhood elementary and middle schools--the state can't take a single penny.

Make our schools and our community our top priority. Join us: vote Yes on J.

/s/ Emmanuel Barbara
Vice President, Silicon Valley Education Foundation

/s/ William Horton
Retired 36 Year Local Resident

/s/ Stuart Huizinga
Chief Financial Officer of eHealth, Inc.

/s/ Carolyn N. Beadle
Retired Union School District Teacher

/s/ Jim Cunneen
Former President, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and Former Republican Assemblymember

Tax Rate Statement from Superintendent
Union Elementary School District Bond Measure J

To: The voters voting in the June 3, 2014 election on the question of the issuance of $125,000,000 General Obligation Bonds of the Union Elementary School District.

You are hereby notified in accordance with Section 9401 of the Elections Code of the State of California of the following:

1. The best estimate from official sources of the tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund principal and interest payments during the first fiscal year after the first sale of bonds (Fiscal Year 2014-2015), based on assessed valuations available at the time of the election and taking into account estimated future growth, is the following:

$.03000 per $100 of assessed valuation, which equates to $30.00 per $100,000.

2. The best estimate from official sources of the tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund principal and interest payments during the first fiscal year after the last sale of bonds and an estimate of the year in which that rate will apply, based on assessed valuations available at the time of the election and taking into account estimated future growth, is as follows:

$.03000 per $100 of assessed valuation, which equates to $30.00 per $100,000.

First fiscal year after last sale of bonds: 2040-2041

3. The best estimate from official sources of the highest tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund principal and interest payments on the bonds and an estimate of the year in which that rate will apply, based on assessed valuations available at the time of the election and taking into account estimated future growth, is as follows:

$.03000 per $100 of assessed valuation, which equates to $30.00 per $100,000.

Year of highest tax rate: Tax is projected to be the same every year.

The attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon projections and estimates only. The actual tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary from those presently estimated, due to variations from these estimates in the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold and market interest rates at the time of each sale, and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds. The date of sale and the amount of bonds sold at any given time will be determined by the District based on its need for construction funds and other factors. The actual interest rates at which the bonds will be sold will depend on the bond market at the time of sale. Actual future assessed valuations will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the District as determined by the County Assessor in the annual assessment and the equalization process. Accordingly, the actual tax rates and the years in which such rates are applicable may vary from those presently estimated as above stated.

/s/ Jacqueline M. Horejs
Ed. D., Superintendent of the Union Elementary School District

Full Text of Measure J
BALLOT PROPOSITION OF THE UNION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOND MEASURE ELECTION JUNE 3, 2014

The following is the full proposition presented to the voters by the Union Elementary School District.

"To improve local elementary/middle schools by fixing/replacing leaky roofs, improving safety/fire/security systems, adding classrooms to avoid overcrowding, keeping schools clean/well-maintained, providing updated classroom technology and teacher training for new technology, updating, renovating, acquiring, constructing/equipping classrooms, science/project labs, sites or facilities, shall Union Elementary School District issue $125 million in bonds at legal rates, with citizen oversight, annual audits, no funds for administrators' salaries, all funds staying in local Union schools?"

PROJECT LIST

The Board of Trustees of the Union Elementary School District evaluated the District's urgent and critical facility repair needs, including safety issues, enrollment trends, class size, class size reduction and computer and information technology, in developing the scope of projects to be funded. The District conducted a facilities evaluation and received public input and review in developing this Project List, and has prepared a Facilities Improvement Plan which was approved by the Board on March 4, 2014 and which is incorporated herein and on file in the Office of the Superintendent. Teachers, staff, community members and the Board have prioritized the key health and safety needs so that the most critical facility concerns are addressed. The Board believes that if these needs are not addressed now, the problems will only become more pressing. Therefore, in approving this Project List, the Board of Trustees determines that:

(i) all bond money must stay exclusively in our local community, under local control and cannot be taken away by the State; and

(ii) in repairing schools, priority must be given to the basics, such as replacing outdated fire alarms, fixing leaky roofs and windows, replacing old and inefficient heating, cooling and plumbing, and upgrading fire and earthquake safety to ensure that classrooms are safe and up-to-date; and

(iii) schools must have updated science labs, computers and other learning technology so that our students are prepared for the 21st Century; and

(iv) schools must be safe, secure, clean and well-maintained learning environments; and

(v) the District must establish an independent citizens' oversight committee and require annual independent audits to make sure all money is spent as authorized, and not for administrators' salaries, benefits or pensions.

The Project List includes the following types of projects at the following school sites:

Alta Vista Elementary School
Athenour Early Childhood Education Center
Carlton Elementary School
Dartmouth Middle School
Guadalupe Elementary School
Lietz Elementary School
Noddin Elementary School
Oster Elementary School
Union Middle School

Essential School Repair and Upgrade Projects

Goals and Purposes: To promote student achievement and prepare students for high school, college and 21st Century careers, schools need basic repairs to maintain a safe and modern learning environment, such as fixing leaking roofs, repairing aging classrooms, science labs and other school buildings, improving fire, earthquake and other emergency safety systems, providing up-to-date classroom technology and preventing overcrowding by adding classrooms:

  • Fix or replace leaking roofs.

  • Upgrade and/or improve electrical service capacity to relieve overloaded electrical systems so that it can handle modern instructional technology.

  • Maintain and repair aging classrooms, science/project labs and school buildings.

  • Replace older windows, ceilings, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems with building code compliant, energy efficient systems which will save money on operating costs; remove dry rot.

  • Upgrade classrooms, science/project labs, libraries, multi-purpose rooms, computers and other learning technology, and enhance the educational environment so that our students are prepared to excel in the 21st Century economy.

  • Upgrade aging school restrooms.

  • Add classrooms to avoid overcrowding.

Student Health, Safety and Security Projects

Goals and Purposes: Since safe, secure, clean, well-maintained and up-to-date schools help protect and improve local property values, schools and school sites will benefit from a variety of health and safety projects, such as:

  • Upgrades for earthquake safety and bring all schools up to current standards and codes.

  • Replace outdated fire alarm systems, improve fire safety equipment and fire exit doors to make students safer in the event of an emergency.

  • Make schools safer by removing hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead paint where applicable.

  • Improve and upgrade school access for students, teachers and staff with disabilities to meet current requirements.

  • Install, replace and upgrade security systems, fencing and classroom door locks.

  • Upgrade emergency communication systems to improve student safety.

  • Enhance student safety by improving traffic flow and student drop-off areas.

Energy Efficiency and Cost Saving Projects

Goals and Purposes: To generate significant energy and water savings, returning more money to the classroom to protect academic programs and retain qualified teachers, schools will benefit from a variety of projects, such as:

  • Replace old and inefficient windows, lighting, heating, ventilation, plumbing, water and irrigation systems to save money and use the savings to support instructional programs.

  • Install energy efficient systems to save money and return the savings to the classroom.

  • Improve insulation and weather proofing to reduce costs.

  • Increase water efficiency by replacing or repairing failing water, sewer and plumbing systems.

Instructional Technology Upgrade Projects For Effective Student Learning and Teacher Training

Goals and Purposes: To upgrade classroom learning and computer technology to allow our teachers and students to use up-to-date teaching methods and implement new rigorous academic standards so that our students are prepared to excel in the 21st century economy:

  • Provide and maintain up-to-date technology, data and communication equipment.

  • Upgrade and expand wireless systems, telecommunications, Internet and network connections.

  • Replace or upgrade outdated electrical systems and technology infrastructure.

  • Provide technology to implement new rigorous national academic standards called the "Common Core."

  • Upgrade electrical capacity to improve computer technology and Internet access.

* * *

The listed projects will be completed as needed. Each project is assumed to include its share of furniture, equipment, architectural, engineering, and similar planning costs, program management, staff training expenses and a customary contingency, and escalation for unforeseen design and construction costs. In addition to the listed projects stated above, the Project List also includes the payment of the costs of preparation of all facility planning, facility assessment reviews, environmental studies, construction documentation, inspection and permit fees, and temporary housing of dislocated District activities caused by bond projects. The upgrading of technology infrastructure includes, but is not limited to, computers, LCD projectors, portable interface devices, servers, mobile devices, switches, routers, modules, sound projection systems, phone system integration, document archiving, cabling infrastructure, wireless technology systems, laser printers, digital white boards, document projectors, upgrade voice-over-IP, call manager and network security/firewall, and other miscellaneous equipment. The construction and repair of school facilities includes the installation of signage, clocks, bells and fencing; repair and replace heating and ventilation systems; repair and maintain worn-out and aging roofs; upgrade or construct support facilities, including administrative, physical education and maintenance yards and shade shelters; repair and replace fire alarms, emergency communications and security systems; demolish and construct various forms of storage and support spaces; upgrade classrooms; repair, upgrade and install interior and exterior lighting systems; upgrade school site parking and student drop-off areas; update utility systems, including installing solar panels; improve grounds, kitchens, playground equipment, hard court and rubberized surfaces, libraries, multi-use buildings, and District support offices and facilities, athletic and play fields and turf; acquire land; replace deteriorated walkways, upgrade bathrooms, drinking fountains, paint and floor coverings and door frames. Science lab upgrades in elementary schools will result in the creation of project based learning labs. The Project List also includes the refinancing of any outstanding lease obligations or the bridge loans taken to initiate voter approved projects. The allocation of bond proceeds may be affected by the District's receipt of State matching funds and the final costs of each project. In the absence of State matching funds, which the District will aggressively pursue to reduce the District's share of the costs of the projects, the District may not be able to complete some of the projects listed above. The budget for each project is an estimate and may be affected by factors beyond the District's control. The final cost of each project will be determined as plans are finalized, construction bids are awarded and projects are completed. Based on the final costs of each project, certain of the projects described above may be delayed or may not be completed. Demolition of existing facilities and reconstruction of facilities scheduled for repair and upgrade may occur, if the Board determines that such an approach would be more cost-effective in creating enhanced and operationally efficient campuses. Necessary site preparation/restoration and landscaping, may occur in connection with new construction, renovation or remodeling, or installation or removal of relocatable classrooms, including ingress and egress, removing, replacing, or installing irrigation, utility lines, trees and landscaping, redirecting fire access, and acquiring any necessary easements, licenses, or rights of way to the property. Bond proceeds shall be expended only for the specific purposes identified herein.

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 District shall create an account into which proceeds of the bonds shall be deposited and comply with the reporting requirements of Government Code 53410.

FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY: IN ACCORDANCE WITH EDUCATION CODE SECTION 15272, THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES WILL APPOINT A CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE AND CONDUCT ANNUAL INDEPENDENT AUDITS TO ASSURE THAT FUNDS ARE SPENT ONLY ON DISTRICT PROJECTS AND FOR NO OTHER PURPOSE. THE EXPENDITURE OF BOND MONEY ON THESE PROJECTS IS SUBJECT TO STRINGENT FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY REQUIREMENTS. BY LAW, PERFORMANCE AND FINANCIAL AUDITS WILL BE PERFORMED ANNUALLY, AND ALL BOND EXPENDITURES WILL BE MONITORED BY AN INDEPENDENT CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO ENSURE THAT FUNDS ARE SPENT AS PROMISED AND SPECIFIED. THE CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MUST INCLUDE, AMONG OTHERS, REPRESENTATION OF A BONA FIDE TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION, A BUSINESS ORGANIZATION AND A SENIOR CITIZENS ORGANIZATION. NO DISTRICT EMPLOYEES OR VENDORS ARE ALLOWED TO SERVE ON THE CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE.

NO ADMINISTRATOR SALARIES: PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THE BONDS AUTHORIZED BY THIS PROPOSITION SHALL BE USED ONLY FOR THE ACQUISITION, CONSTRUCTION, RECONSTRUCTION, REHABILITATION, OR REPLACEMENT OF SCHOOL FACILITIES, INCLUDING THE FURNISHING AND EQUIPPING OF SCHOOL FACILITIES, AND NOT FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE, INCLUDING TEACHER AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR SALARIES AND OTHER OPERATING EXPENSES.


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Created: July 9, 2014 18:44 PDT
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