A $265 million bond measure to help address overcrowding and enrollment growth in the Sequoia Union High School District will be on the June 3 ballot, the Board of Trustees decided Wednesday.
Community members and trustees have been weighing the pros and cons of going out for a measure this spring or in the fall, with some believing it’s too soon for it to be on the ballot since there should be clear public support and a more complete campaigning committee. Ultimately, the board voted unanimously Wednesday that the sooner the better and a November ballot measure might be too late since it will take two years to construct the first set of new buildings.
“The Sequoia Union High School District has an incredible story to tell,” said board Vice President Olivia Martinez. “We spent a whole year last week getting ready. It was inspiring to see the support from all aspects of the community. I’m very confident we will have very well run, successful campaign.”
A facilities task force recommended the bond that will generate an approximate $16 per $100,000 tax rate based on current interest bonds to allow for two small schools of 300 to 400 students and for adding six additional classrooms to Menlo-Atherton High School. Godbe Research completed a voter survey regarding a potential bond measure to support the district’s four comprehensive high schools and alternative high school programs. The results showed strong support for a potential bond measure, reaching 68.4 percent for a simulated June 2014 election and 70.3 percent in a simulated November election. Support was generally consistent in the school district regions that feed into the high school district. The measure requires a 55 percent yes vote.
The bond’s co-chairs are Julie Quinlan and Julia Horak, who both supported a June ballot measure.
“We need this bond now,” Quinn said. “The students are in the pipeline and many families are moving here because of the quality of the schools. The good news is our campaign committee is formed and I believe we can run a strong and successful campaign.”
The volunteers are in place and the campaign is working with excellent consultants, Horak said.
“We are ready to go,” she said.
Board President Allen Weiner expressed his deep appreciation to the two co-chairs for stepping up.
“You’re doing an enormous service to the community,” he said. “It’s going to be hard and it’s going to be time consuming.”
San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley came in support of a June measure at the Wednesday meeting.
“We need to be able to prepare for the future,” he said. “I will do whatever I can to help pass this bond measure.”
Trustees spoke in favor of a June measure and the bond’s importance. The bond measure is absolutely essential, said Trustee Chris Thomsen.
“We have the kind of community that understands and supports our schools,” he said. “We are blessed to have that.”
Meanwhile, Trustee Alan Sarver said the focus of the campaign must be about the growth of student enrollment and alleviating its strains on facilities.
A demographic study indicates the district is projected to grow starting in the 2014-15 school year, reaching more than 10,000 students by 2020-21. Projections indicate that the district will reach 10,056 students by 2020-21. These projections are based in part on partner elementary district growth. Enrollment in the partner districts started to grow in 2006-07 from 22,893 students and reached 24,653 students in 2012-13.
Trustees Sarver and Martinez were selected as bond committee representatives for the board.
The board next meets March 12.
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