Proponents of the Sequoia Union High School District’s $265 million bond measure aimed at helping address overcrowding and enrollment growth celebrated Tuesday night, as Measure A passed with 64.3 percent voter approval.
It needed 55 percent to pass.
A facilities task force recommended the bond that is expected to 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 six additional classrooms to Menlo-Atherton High School.
“It’s a great source of pride to live in a community that is so staunchly in support of education,” said board President Allen Weiner. “That’s why we had hope and confidence that the community would support our desire to continue to build first-rate programs.”
Godbe Research completed a voter survey regarding a potential measure to support the district’s four comprehensive high schools and alternative high school programs. The results showed strong support for a measure, reaching 68.4 percent for a simulated June election. Support was generally consistent in the school district regions that feed into the high school district.
“We are totally thankful and enjoying broad community support,” campaign co-chair Julia Horak said Tuesday night. “Starting tomorrow, work starts to provide the best education for these students.”
Proponents of the measure cited a demographic study that 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.
The argument against, written by Mark Hinkle, president of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association, stated the district already had a $165 million bond measure in 2008 that was supposed to take care of technology funds for 10 years. Additionally, it noted most people would not pay for a computer class or laptop with a 25-year loan. It stated buildings shouldn’t be updated every 10 years with a 25-year bond and that the district’s spending is 141 percent more per student than the statewide average. Teachers in the district make an average of $81,674 per year versus the statewide average of $72,962 per year, it stated.
In rebuttal to Hinkle’s statements, the pro side wrote “this rigid ideologue — who doesn’t even live in our community — has filed an argument against every school measure on the ballot in every recent major election.” It went on to state that currently each of the comprehensive high schools is at or near capacity.
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