It’s been a while since the San Mateo Union High School District has asked the community for money for its facilities. From 2001 to 2010, there were three bond measures and they largely went to new class buildings and other improvements, including an entirely new San Mateo High School after it was deemed seismically unsafe.

Some of the needs are the same, but there are more specific ones because of the times in which we live. One of the top priorities for this bond measure is safety and security — specifically cameras and communication devices that simply didn’t exist before but the need of which is even more pronounced. One specific instance in which the new cameras could have been used was when a former student entered a campus and left racist and anti-Semitic graffiti. The culprit was eventually discovered and arrested, but better cameras would have made that job easier, or could have prevented the situation altogether. Cameras and updated security measures will also help keep our students safe in a time when secure campus or lockdown drills are regrettably but necessarily common.

Other top priorities are better cabling and WiFi to accommodate 21st learning, returfing or turfing of athletic fields and removing encapsulated asbestos that is not of current harm to students but could be and needs to be addressed. The bond could also be used for teacher housing at a location not yet identified, which will help with attraction and retention as the cost of living here rises. It will also be used for basic needs such as repairing certain walls so rats and mice would be prevented from entering classrooms.

The longer the district waits, the more expensive the repairs and improvements will be. Anyone who follows education funding knows that the state provides nowhere near the amount needed to keep up facilities to modern standards. This means the community has to determine if such facilities deserve upgrades. These facilities are here to ensure that our community’s students have the opportunity to learn in the best environment possible. This measure will generate $385 million at $15.55 per $100,000 assessed property valuation to help ensure that. Vote yes on Measure L.

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(2) comments

Lou

Well said, Chris. Plus, bonds are NOT exempt for seniors. Many seniors have paid for schools for decades, with no children in those schools. Plus many seniors can't even afford those upgrades to their own lives, that they have to pay for others.

Christopher Conway

How can we make sure that this new money is not going to the payment of old debt. Retired workers pensions and health benefits.

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