But that won't happen anytime soon unless voters pass Measure G, a $198 million bond issue that addresses an array of shortcomings on local elementary and middle school campuses that have built up over the years. If approved, the cost to local property owners would be a maximum of $30 a year for each $100,000 of assessed valuation (not market value), or $150 on a home assessed at $500,000.
The June 5 vote comes at the end of a long process that began several years ago when district officials and school board members decided to take an inventory of what renovations and repairs would be needed to bring the district's nine campuses up to the standards for providing students a 21st Century education. Using a very broad yardstick, two board members met with designers, experts and builders and conducted four public hearings before deciding to move forward with a $198 million bond issue that is on the June 5 ballot. The proceeds would pay for renovations and repairs that will touch each campus.
Among the improvements listed on Measure G promotional materials:
• All schools will be brought up to current fire and earthquake standards;
• Hazardous materials like lead and asbestos will be removed from all buildings;
• Repairs and upgrades will be made to plumbing, sewers and classrooms and all schools will be made accessible to children with disabilities;
• Science labs, classroom computers and other technology will be upgraded, and;
• Energy and operational efficiency will be upgraded to save money that can be used to protect quality programs and teachers.
None of the bond funds can be used for salaries, pensions or benefits, nor can they be taken away by the state. If passed, a bond oversight committee will be selected to make sure funds are spent correctly, and more public meetings will be held at school campuses to solicit comments from parents and teachers.
To illustrate the importance of the bond measure, school officials told the Voice that some of the numerous portable classrooms that will be phased out if the bonds pass are not in use now due to their poor condition. In addition, passage of the bonds will permit the board to reoccupy the leased-out Whisman school campus if enrollment numbers keep growing, as they have in recent years.
Measure G has been endorsed by a long list of residents and school officials, as well as state Sen. Joe Simitian and Mayor Mike Kasperzak. And the district is also helped by its strong growth in achievement for district students, whose average test scores have advanced from 783 in 2007 to 834 in 2011.
We urge residents of the Mountain View Whisman school district to do their part by voting yes on Measure G when they go to the polls June 5. The bonds are a small price to pay for the tremendous improvements that will keep the district on a solid trajectory in the years ahead.