During Thursday night’s school board meeting, Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD) Superintendent Craig Goldman indicated he hopes to see the district’s proposed $198 million bond measure for school improvements on the ballot sooner rather than later—in other words, come June.
Goldman said, after a great deal of research and consulting with experts, he thinks it’s time to move forward.
“We’ve reached a point where we’d like the Board to consider an initiative on the June 5, 2012 ballot for a potential bond to support our facilities,” he said before the board and public Thursday night.
The Board asked Charles Heath of the San Francisco-based firm TBWB Strategies, who has been consulting for MVWSD for years on various bond measures, to be present at Thursday’s meeting and answer questions from the board.
Heath explained that, according to law, if the district wants the bond measure on the June 5 ballot, they need to submit the necessary materials to the County by March 5—meaning, all has to be finalized during the school board’s next meeting on March 1.
A packet was distributed to the board and audience that included the proposed language voters will see on their ballots, explaining in general terms what the bond money will be used for. A mandated list of projects throughout the district that the money would be spent on was also included.
Heath explained that, due to Proposition 39, which was passed in California in 2000, the project list is mandatory when trying to get a bond measure such as this passed.
Board member Philip Palmer asked Heath how limiting the mandated project list is, and how specific it needs to be, since he felt the project list included in the packet was a bit vague and general.
“It sets outlying boundaries. You can’t spend money on anything not on this list,” Heath responded, explaining that it’s best to be a little vague and general to give the district a little wiggle room when it comes time to actually start work on the projects.
The project list included in Thursday’s packet includes a number of projects for physical improvements to schools, such as removal of hazardous materials like asbestos and lead, earthquake retrofitting, updating school bathrooms and plumbing, updating schools to better assist disabled students, upgrading smoke alarms and detectors, upgrading school security systems, and increasing school energy efficiency.
Materials also indicated that money would be used to bolster the district’s budget and help retain teachers and avoid cuts to important school programs, as well as update school technology, modernize science equipment, and more.
The district is also trying to spread the word that, according to law, money from bond measures such as this one cannot be taken away by the state and must remain in the district. Also, the money cannot be used for administrators’ salaries, benefits or pensions and, by law, an oversight committee with a minimum number of members from several different corners of the community will be put in place to make sure the bond measure is spent accordingly.
All board members seemed pleased with the plan for the bond measure as presented.
“I appreciate the length of time and diligence I’ve observed from everyone on this,” said board member Ellen Wheeler.
If the bond measure passes, it will cost local homeowners approximately $30 for every $100,000 in assessed property value annually. In other words, if you paid $400,000 for your condo, you can expect to pay around $120 extra each year for the bond. If you own a million-dollar home, you can expect to pay around $300 per year.
On that note, the school district’s bond measure literature says, “The assessed value of your home is generally much lower than market value and is based on the price at the time of purchase.”
For more information on the proposed bond measure, see the flier included in the photo section of this article.
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