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San Benito High School District Bond Issue, Measure G (June 2014)

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A San Benito High School District Bond Issue, Measure G ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the San Benito High School District in Santa Clara and San Benito counties, California, where it was narrowly approved.

Measure G authorized the district to increase its debt by $42.5 million through issuing general obligation bonds in that amount.[1]

In 2014, the San Benito High School District had at least 2,915 students.

A 55 percent supermajority vote was required for the approval of Measure G.

Election results

ApprovedaMeasure G
County: Yes No
Votes  % Votes  %
San Benito County 3,516 56.32% 2,727 43.68%
Santa Clara County 8 33.33% 9 66.67%
Totals: 3,524 56.29% 2,736 43.71%
These election results are from the San Benito County elections office and the Santa Clara County elections office

Election results summary:

Measure G
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 3,524 56.29%
No2,73643.71%

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[1]

To improve the quality of local education by ensuring all San Benito High School students can access modern classrooms and educational tools, shall San Benito High School District:
  • replace/upgrade classrooms and labs to prepare students for college and careers;
  • repair roofs, plumbing and outdated electrical systems;
  • add 21st century instructional/vocational technology;
  • improve school safety;
  • improve access for persons with disabilities

by issuing $42.5 million of bonds, with citizen oversight, audits, with NO money for administrator salaries?[2]

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis of Measure G was prepared by the office of the San Benito County Counsel:[1]

Upon approval of 55% of the votes cast by voters in an election and subject to specified accountability measures, California law permits school districts to issue bonds, secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property within a district, for the purpose of 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. The Board of Trustees (Board) of the San Benito High School District (District) proposes issuing bonds in the amount of up to $42,500,000. As identified in the measure, bond proceeds would be used for projects, including, but not limited to: (1) replacing/upgrading classrooms and labs to prepare students for college and careers; (2) repairing roofs, plumbing and outdated electrical systems; (3) adding 21st century instructional/vocational technology; (4) improving school safety; and (5) improving access for persons with disabilities. A detailed list of projects and allowed expenditures is included within the full text of the measure.

The California Constitution provides that school bond proceeds may not be used for teacher or administrator salaries or other school operating expenses. The District would appoint an independent citizens' oversight committee and have annual independent performance and financial audits conducted to ensure bond proceeds are expended only for the school facilities on the bond project list in the ballot measure.

The District's best estimate of the tax rate to be levied to fund the proposed bonds during the fiscal year after the initial sale of the bonds (expected to occur in 2015-2016) is $29.73 per $100,000 of assessed value. The District's best estimate of the tax rate to be levied to fund the bonds during the fiscal year after the final sale of the bonds (expected to occur in 2020-2021) is $29.99 per $100,000 of assessed value. The District's best estimate of the highest tax rate that would be required to be levied to fund the bonds is $30.00 per $100,000 per fiscal year of assessed valuation (expected to occur during 2017-2018).

Measure G was placed on the ballot by the Board.

A "yes" vote is a vote to authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds in the amount of up to $42,500,000 to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the District.

A "no" vote is a vote not to authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds in the amount of up to $42,500,000 to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the District.[2]

—Lizanne Reynolds, Deputy San Benito County Counsel[1]

Support

Supporters

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure G:[1]

  • L. Elaine Kovanda, involved community member
  • Irma C. Albright, SBHS Teacher
  • Aurelio Zuniga, retired
  • Gordon A. Machado, businessman
  • Thomas P. Breen, retired judge

Arguments in favor

Official arguments

The following official arguments were submitted in favor of Measure G:[1]

We all love San Benito High School, but we know we need to improve access to quality education for every student. Large enrollment creates challenges for educating students and helping every student gain the skills and opportunities they need. Classroom and technology upgrades are necessary to ensure students receive the attention needed to excel.

Providing safe, up-to-date classrooms is also important. SBHS is an old school, requiring ongoing repairs and maintenance. Aging and leaky roofs, plumbing and wiring need to be fixed. Students need improved access to modern technology, and science labs and classrooms need to be equipped for today's college and career skills.

Measure G is the solution.

Measure G provides a long-term fix to ensure the safety and continued success of our students. Measure G will fund upgrades and improvements to facilities that enable the high school to spend fewer general fund dollars on costly maintenance, saving more funding to go towards classroom instruction.

Specifically, Measure G will:

  • Construct a Vocational Education Center to replace an aging facility that is seismically unsafe
  • Update or replace classrooms and labs to support college and career readiness programs
  • Repair or replace aging, leaky roofs, old plumbing and outdated electrical systems
  • Improve access for those with disabilities
  • Add or replace instructional/vocational technology in classrooms and labs
  • Upgrade or replace science labs and increase lab stations for more student use
  • Improve school safety, seismic, fire and communication systems

Strict Fiscal Accountability

  • Every penny raised by Measure G will be locally controlled and cannot be taken by the State
  • Annual audits and an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee ensure funds are spent on approved projects
  • Funds cannot be used for salaries

Join parents, teachers, staff and local community leaders in voting Yes on G![2]

—Elaine Kovanda, Irma C. Albright, Aurelio Zuniga, Gordon A. Machado and Thomas P. Breen[1]

Opposition

Opponents

Mark W.A. Hinkle, president of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association, submitted the official arguments in opposition to Measure G, as well as every other June 2014 school bond and tax measure in San Mateo County and San Benito County.[1]

The Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association officially recommended a "no" vote on Measure G.[3]

Arguments against

Official arguments

The following official arguments were submitted in opposition to Measure G:[1]

When school boards put bond measures like Measure G before the voters, they are admitting that everything they are currently spending your tax dollars on now is more important than the projects for which this tax increase is being sought. Budgets set priorities. San Benito High School District is saying every educational dollar spent today is going to something they consider a higher priority than "school safety, repair roofs and outdated electrical systems, etc."

Do you agree?

The website: www.ed-data.k12.ca.us shows at least 2,915 students in the district, which means the bond expense is $14,579 per student not counting interest costs and repayment of principal. When you buy a home, truth in lending laws require you be informed about the real cost of buying a home. Shouldn't consumer laws apply to bond issues too? For example:

Borrowing $42,500,000 and paying 3% interest for 25 years means annual payments of $2,418,480 in principal and interest for a total lifetime cost of $60,461,943.

As a taxpayer, you deserved to know the full truth about measure G.

Instead of paying $2,418,480 (principal & interest) every year "to meet current safety codes", your educational dollars will be going to big banks, investment brokers, and other wealthy people to be used as a tax shelter. Is this the best use of your tax dollars?

What's more important to you?

1. Spending $2,418,480 a year on children's "essential safety repairs".

2. Spending $2,418,480 a year to fund tax shelters for big banks, investment brokers, and the rich.

If you value children's health and safety more than funding tax shelters, vote NO on Measure G

If you value school maintenance more than making interest payments for 25 years, vote NO on Measure G[2]

—Mark W.A. Hinkle, president of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association[1]

See also

External links

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References