Mountain View Voice

News - June 8, 2012

Measure G passes easily

by Nick Veronin

Voters approved the Mountain View Whisman School District's $198 million school bond, Measure G, by a healthy margin — it garnered a 66 percent yes-vote when it needed only 55 percent to pass.

"The Mountain View Whisman School District would like to express its gratitude to the Mountain View community for supporting Measure G," district officials said in a press release.

Measure G will be supported by district homeowners who pay up to $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value annually for 25 years.

It comes on top of Measure C, the eight-year, $3 million voter-approved parcel tax that went into effect in 2009. Depending on parcel size, property owners are assessed anywhere from nearly $150 to over $1,000 a year under Measure C.

Proponents of Measure G say the Mountain View Whisman School District needs the $198 million to to pay for an array of projects at all nine of its campuses — including major structural repairs, safety and accessibility improvements, technological upgrades, and the construction of new, energy efficient classrooms, along with the removal of permanent and portable structures past their prime.

"The impressive results are reflective of the Mountain View community's incredible support for its schools," MVWSD Superintendent Craig Goldman said in the release. "Mountain View is set apart by its culture of collaboration and its recognition that excellent schools are essential to a strong community."

Goldman said he stayed up until all 28 precincts had reported their tallied votes. Once he saw that bond was officially successful, "It gave me a great deal of satisfaction to know that I was the superintendent of such a great district in such an amazing community."

Opponents of the measure, led by Mountain View resident Steve Nelson, say the district should have sought more community input and that it overlooked simpler, more cost-effective solutions.

Reached by phone on election night, June 5, Nelson said he wasn't optimistic that the opposition would secure enough votes to defeat the measure, but he was pleased with what he perceived to be the impact that his campaign, No on June Bond Measure G, was having on the vote.

"I'm not holding my breath that we're going to win this one," Nelson said. "I am feeling optimistic that more people are realizing that there is a problem, and I'm feeling optimistic that this is moving in the direction to put more pressure on the school board to reopen Whisman (school) and have a better process for picking priorities."

The district's student population is projected to swell to as many as 5,500 children over the next five years, according to Fiona Walter, a district trustee. In order to accommodate that growth, she said, the district will have to build more classrooms, purchase new equipment and, in all likelihood, reopen the Whisman campus. All of that will take money, Walter said, and that is why the district asked voters to approve Measure G.

Beyond being prepared for an influx of students, Walter noted that an overhaul of some of the district's older buildings and facilities is in order. "With 50- to 60-year-old buildings, the majority of maintenance requirements can't be covered by our annual budget," she said.

Nelson has been challenging Measure G since it was merely an idea floated about at MVWSD board meetings. He pushed the district to do more to include the public in the Measure G planning process. Additionally, he called the plan disorganized and spent his own money taking the district court in an effort to get the pro-G description found in the county voter's guide reworded (he called the original MVWSD wording "misleading"). A judge rejected his effort.

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