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Smart Voter
Sonoma County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Measure A
Calistoga Joint Unified School District

55% Approval Required

Pass: 184 / 67.4% Yes votes ...... 89 / 32.6% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Jan 6 3:01pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (6/6)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To renovate and improve Calistoga schools, improve school libraries, upgrade classrooms, modernize computer networks, build a new gym and a cafeteria, install solar energy systems, replace aging roofs, old heating, electrical, plumbing, cooling and ventilation systems with energy efficient systems, shall the Calistoga Joint Unified School District be authorized to issue $42,000,000 in bonds, at legal interest rates, with no funds for administrator salaries and all expenditures monitored by an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee?

Impartial Analysis from county counsel
State law authorizes school districts to sell bonds to finance 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. Monies generated by the sale of such bonds may only be spent for these specified purposes. Thus, the bond proceeds cannot be expended to finance teacher and administrator salaries or other school operating expenses.

The Calistoga Joint Unified School District (the "District") has called for an election on the question of whether bonds should be issued and sold by the District. Such bonds may only be issued and sold if at least 55% of the persons who actually vote approve Measure "A". The bonds would be repaid through an increase in property taxes based upon the assessed value of taxable property in the District in each year of repayment. The Tax Rate Statement, which appears following the full text of Measure "A" in this voter information pamphlet, reflects the District's current best estimate of the property tax rate increases that will be required to service the bonds at various points during the life of the bonds. The estimated annual tax to be levied to meet debt service requirements for the proposed bonds cannot exceed $60 per $100,000 of assessed value.

If Measure "A" is approved, bonds may be issued in series and are required to be repaid within 40 years from the date they are issued. The maximum interest chargeable on the bonds is regulated by state law and is presently twelve percent (12%) per annum. The actual interest rates at which the bonds are sold will depend on the bond market at the time of each sale.

The District proposes to issue and sell bonds in an aggregate amount not to exceed $42,000,000. Money raised by the sale of the bonds must be used exclusively to finance the list of projects described in the full text of Measure "A" which is included in this voter information pamphlet (the "Bond Project List"). When developing the Bond Project List, the District was required by state law to evaluate safety, class size reduction and information technology needs. Inclusion of a particular project on the Bond Project List, however, is not a guarantee that the project will actually be funded or completed.

If Measure "A" is approved and bonds are issued and sold, the District will appoint a citizens' oversight committee and conduct annual independent audits to assure that the funds are spent only on school and classroom improvements and for no other purposes.

Approval of Measure "A" will have no effect on existing law, but will allow for the issuance and sale of bonds in accordance with the terms of existing law and Measure "A".

A "YES" VOTE MEANS that the District will be authorized to issue and sell the bonds.

A "NO" VOTE MEANS that the District will not be authorized to issue and sell the bonds.

s/ Steven Woodside Sonoma County Counsel
s/ Robert Westmeyer Napa County Counsel

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Arguments For Measure A Arguments Against Measure A
A Yes vote on Measure A will provide the local funds over the next twelve years to renovate, modernize and build new facilities at Calistoga Elementary and the Junior/Senior High School. These improvements, some of which have been deferred for 50 years, are essential if we are to continue to properly serve our students.

If voters approveMeasure A, the district has committed to these initial projects:

  • Improving and expanding the library at Calistoga Elementary.
  • Modernizing elementary school classrooms to accommodate a computer lab, and art, music and science rooms.
  • Building a new cafeteria/multi-purpose building at the Junior/Senior High School.
  • Constructing a new gym for student and community use.
  • Providing solar and other improvements to lower the cost of energy.

In future years, Measure A will provide funds for:
  • Renovating the multi-purpose room at Calistoga Elementary.
  • Modernizing the Junior/Senior High School library and classrooms.
  • Upgrading science labs at the Junior/Senior High School.
  • Improving student access to classroom computers and technology.
  • Upgrading heating, ventilation, electrical and plumbing systems at all schools to improve energy efficiency.
  • Replacing aging and deteriorating roofs.

All funds from Measure A will be used for specific school projects in Calistoga. No funds can be used for administrator or teacher salaries. Additionally, an Independent Citizens Oversight Committee will monitor how all bond funds are spent.

Great schools are the cornerstone to the vitality and future of our community. A Yes vote on Measure A is an investment that revitalizes our local schools, benefits our community and protects our property values. Your support will ensure that adequate schools are available for the children in our community. Great schools make great communities.

Please vote Yes on Measure A.

s/ Suzan Shaw Shaw Plumbing
s/ Jeffrey W. Johnson Retired Superintendent of Schools
s/ Shirley Blomquist, Commissioner Napa County Commission on Aging
s/ Barney Welsh Owner/Partner Forni Brown Garden
s/ Indira López, Member Calistoga Community Resources Commission

Citizens of the Calistoga Joint Unified School District should be wary of the school bond. The school district is asking for $42,000,000 in this bond yet there are no detailed plans and costs of the exact work to be done nor exactly what facilities will be built. Published information received from the school district indicates that a large portion of funds will be expended on Repairs and Upgrades to existing school facilities. This seems unusual since the district should be budgeting funds from its annual budget for repairs and upgrades. Clearly, the best use for long term bond funds is primarily for capital projects such as new buildings. Plans for new buildings do not appear to be finalized. This is very confusing to the community. $42 million is a huge expenditure when related to the small number of students in the district. It would be best for the community if the school district waited a year, accomplished its detailed planning and then resubmitted the bond to the community.

Before voting, community members must decide whether this school bond is truly an investment in the schools or whether it is simply a huge, poorly planned slush fund fraught with the danger of waste and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars due to the lack of planning.

s/ Leon Brauning President, Napa County Taxpayers Assn

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
We are residents of Calistoga dedicated to doing what is best for our students and our community. The person urging you to vote "no" is a Napa realtor who does not live in Calistoga. Neither his children nor his property values will be affected by a vote on Measure A.

However, every "YES" vote will have a positive impact on students and property values in Calistoga.

The facts are clear. Our district has spent more than two years planning Measure A. There is a specific list of facilities projects, with estimated costs, to be completed over the next 12 years. These include projects that have been on the district's "to-do" list for decades. We cannot count on State or Federal government to fund these projects. Only by asking the Calistoga community to invest in our LOCAL schools will these projects be completed. By comparison, taxpayers in the other Napa County school districts currently invest in their school facilities at rates 4 to 12 times higher than do Calistogans, through voter-approved facilities bonds.

All of the funds will be protected by a citizens' oversight committee+comprised of Calistoga residents who care about their local schools, and who will assure that local tax revenues are used responsibly. Please join the parents, students, school staff and community members who want to improve our schools and make Calistoga an even better place to live.

Measure A is well planned and deserves your support. Please vote Yes on Measure A.

s/ Rose Beck, Vice-President Calistoga Alumni Association
s/ Herb Salinger Retired School And University Administrator
s/ Anne Steinhauer Resident
s/ William E. Squire Former CJUSD Boardmember
s/ Placido Garcia Calistoga City Council Member Sonoma

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Created: January 6, 2011 15:01 PST
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