$259M Measure T bond seeks to solve short-term school needs | Town Square | Mountain View Online |

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$259M Measure T bond seeks to solve short-term school needs

Original post made on Feb 18, 2020

Voters in the Mountain View Whisman School District are being asked to pass a new bond measure that would tackle the short-term problems facing local schools today.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 10:13 AM

Comments (19)

20 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 18, 2020 at 1:21 pm

Two points here: (1) the Board of Trustees refused to place any language in Measure T that would guarantee how the money to be borrowed would be spent and (2) the total pricetag for the measure was made gravely uncertain by a limitation on when the money (by selling bonds) may be borrowed: no more than $18.6 million per year. At that rate, bonds would be sold over at least 14 years with the interest rate established on each sale. As currently low interest rates rise, the total repayment (principal plus interest) increases - along with property tax bills. It could easily double or triple the total cost. The Foothill-De Anza bond measure (G) presents the same risk. Measure G would authorize the sale of $898 million in bonds at no more than $48 million per year.

6 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Feb 18, 2020 at 1:34 pm

Can't vote on this measure but fully support it as a taxpayer.

However, still troubled by lack of clarity in the deal between City, MVWSD and the housing developer.

"Doing so piggybacks on a project that was already in the development pipeline and satisfies Fortbay's requirement for affordable housing"

School District Taxpayers will pay for all construction costs and for a 1.8M/year ground lease. What is Fortbay contributing towards its affordable housing requirement?

27 people like this
Posted by Enough
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 18, 2020 at 1:55 pm

I did vote against. I got tired of all these tax increases and special assessments.

24 people like this
Posted by District employee
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 18, 2020 at 3:08 pm

I will NOT be voting for this Measure. I’ve seen up close the waste and mismanagement of the previous Measure. Administration and Board are not to be trusted.

7 people like this
Posted by @ District employee
a resident of North Bayshore
on Feb 18, 2020 at 3:21 pm

Can you give us some examples so we all can be wiser in the future?

23 people like this
Posted by Standing Ovation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2020 at 7:29 am

Voted No already. This board and superintendent don't deserve any more breaks or money. Time to clean house.

21 people like this
Posted by Tina
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2020 at 10:08 am

Before you vote YES, please look at your property tax bill under parcel tax/special assessments. We are already paying for Mtn View Whisman school tax Measure B. Where the heck is the money being spent???? I would like some accountability first.

19 people like this
Posted by Otto_Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 19, 2020 at 2:51 pm

The "oversight" committee is powerless. I was a member once. You get to see how the money is spent. No input.

Then you get to report to the School Board. You either think the money was spent in accordance with the measure or it was not.

If you didn't think it was special properly it's up to the board, not the committee, on the next steps.

It's all fluff in other words. Power remains with the district.

6 people like this
Posted by Richard Michael 909-378-5401
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2020 at 11:39 am

Like every other school district in the state, Mountain View Whisman is cheating on the ballot to win an election.

The districts are electioneering on the ballot using public moneys (Penal Code 424(a)(2)) with a ballot statement that is a not-so-thinly disguised sales pitch.

Elections Code 13119 (AB-195, effective Jan 2018) requires a statement that is in a very specific form (to prevent front-loading the statement with goodies and prohibit a self-serving title), not be an argument or reason for passage, impartial, and not likely to cause prejudice in its favor.

The districts are cheating to win an election. What a poor example to the students. Do you endorse cheaters?

MOUNTAIN VIEW WHISMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT CLASSROOM REPAIR/OVERCROWDING MEASURE. To provide safe/modern classrooms, arts/science labs at neighborhood schools for quality education; relieve student overcrowding; replace aging roofs, inefficient heating/ventilation systems; upgrade, acquire, construct classrooms, facilities, sites/equipment; shall Mountain View Whisman School District's measure authorizing $259,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, levying $30/$100,000 assessed value ($18,600,000 annually) while bonds are outstanding, with independent oversight, audits, no funds for administrators, all funds controlled locally for Mountain View schools, be adopted?

13119 also requires disclosure of a duration. "while bonds are outstanding" is like saying nothing. The districts know exactly how long they expect to collect the tax. It's printed in the tax rate in the voter information guide. It's dishonest to prejudice voters who get past the sales pitch to avoid the disclosure requirement with meaningless tripe (lies).

This is a sales pitch to vote yes.

What's the solution to cheaters who win an election and steal millions of dollars? Think Houston Astros. It's called an election contest, which is available under the new law (AB-195). Call me for details.

12 people like this
Posted by another district employee
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 20, 2020 at 11:59 am

I totally agree with district employee and will be voting no on this measure. The ambiguity in the language will allow the same problems to perpetuate....poor HVAC, Sewage, electrical upgrades....ALL of these issues were supposed to be a part of the last bond, sadly 3 new schools as 1 new District Office were built instead so now more money is needed.

The spend now, ask for money later model must change. If the bond asked only to repay the debt and placed severe restrictions that it could only be spent as advertised then it would get my vote. As is, I am a no vote for this measure. No more blank checks.

12 people like this
Posted by Bad Fiscal Management
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2020 at 1:07 pm

This weird grab bag of public spending should be voted down. It's too much money. I wonder if it is all trumped up to make the teacher housing investment seem smaller. I could support that by itself in fact, but the other stuff is mostly garbage. The solar money isn't needed. The district can get companies to install solar for FREE and then charge a reduced rate for electric use compared to PG&E. There is state money available for HVAC and lighting efficiency upgrades. Look at what the Los Altos school district did in that regard.

The biggest expense seems to be this stuff about security at all the sites. Adding a 2nd set of outdoor rest rooms at the public parks along side the schools is a waste of money. Same thing with adding brighter lights outdoors at night. This lighting is going to impact the neighbors of the schools. And talking about perimeter hardening is ridiculous. They must mean adding fences and gates, but hey is that really so very expensive? Is it even necessary? Look at the fences on the new site at Castro. Those fences are 4 feet tall. Someone could jump them. What are they going to do replace with 6 foot tall fences, and what barbed wire? Such extreme fences are going to make the schools look like prisons. Is that good for the kids?

Basically this is just TOO MUCH money to spend on junk like this when they admit they will be back for more to handle growth if that occurs.

5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 22, 2020 at 10:18 am

I will be voting NO on T / but Yes on the State School Bond (Proposition 13) and Yes on the Community College Measure G - special tax ($48 per year per parcel). It is clear - Blakely did not want to 'commit anything' to legally binding Measure T ballot wording. No Old Roof replacement (majority of Bd in past did not fund this Priority One category) or Old HVAC (Heating andAit Conditioning). Blakeley's bad. This would have beenMUCH LESS than 50% of the bond spending. It would have been very effectively monitored by an honest Bond Oversight committee [a legal requirement].
This Administration/Board continues to OVERRUN their current project budgets. Look at the last three - all go over their 10% construction Contingencies. Often 'district asks' increase the costs. CAN'T LIVE WITHIN BUDGETS? The new Business Officer has no construction experience, and the Superintendent is doing a much worse job (IMO) keeping costs contained. Spending 50% over the Contingency / makes it clear that a Rest and Reconsider (6 months or a year) would be good.
Landels Does Not Need More Classrooms! Kids (a hundred?) need to be moved into the New Classrooms unoccupied by regular classes at both Castro and Mistral. Rudolph doe not, as he said, want to face "the hornet's nest" of property owners/parents in West Shoreline.

There are projects that need to be done. Blakeley does not have the guts to lead the effort to legally ensure they are done AS A LEGAL PRIORITY (and then the 50% left can be used ...)

3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 22, 2020 at 10:31 am

Misrepresentation of Facts - MVWSD/Voice's pie chart (looks good enough to eat though). Anything anything all can be changed (all proportions or future exclusions). With a simple Majority Vote of future Board. That is the law. That is the Bond Measure ballot text wording.

Look who is funding Measure T campaign. Those architects are not interested in repairing the dozens of old roofs/ replacing old HVAC. Any more than they were in their last Bond Measure work! They want to BUILD NEW. It's more fun and profitable. Tear down old Landels classrooms (single story) and BUILD NEW (with elevators and all).

I do not think this spending is Critical Now. TAX RATE INCREASE? Before the old bonds are paid off (in just a few years)? Wait till November - or two years! Have a (50%) legally tied down spending language plan. Slow Down - you move Too Fast. (IMO)

6 people like this
Posted by Right On
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2020 at 5:43 pm

Steve Nelson is right about the no on T. This district doesn't have much of a clue. They are skipping the planning phase and just asking for a lot of funding they do not need. Their arguments are poor. They want a blank check to issue bonds going forward any time they think of something to spend on. Better to have a clear plan and more data as to what future growth will look like. Their statement that this is NOT for long term growth shows the problem precisely. They want to fritter away on extras that are not needed, and then they will not have resources to deal with future growth which may or may not occur.

Some of their language claims that there are 7000 new housing units which may be true. But between 2013 and 2018 enrollment only grew by 100 in total. K-5 enrollment actually declined over that time period. They have already built capacity for 9 elementary schools at 450 each, which means they still have plenty of room. The new housing units aren't producing new students. That's the situation plain and simple. It may well be because the birth rate is down and there are fewer kids in the population. MVWSD wants the sneak this spending by before it is clear that they DO NOT have a growth problem to speak of. Better to wait.

4 people like this
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2020 at 6:15 pm

@RightOn: Do your homework. The board approved the improvement project list already, with cost estimates for each line item. The teacher housing piece isn’t about student enrollment, it’s about building more housing in Mountain View so more teachers can live here (as opposed to buying up existing homes, which others have proposed, which does nothing to alleviate the bigger problem in Mountain View). Refinancing the COP for Slater, etc frees up lease money (and sites) for other possible uses.

What costs more money? Heating schools with bad windows. Paying for electricity instead of generating it yourself. Paying teachers more to live in more expensive housing. Emergency support when the sewer lines break or the roofs start leaking. Lawsuits when a special needs child accidentally wanders off campus because there’s no fence to stop them and maybe someone was distracted... This stuff comes back to the taxpayers one way or another. I like being fiscally prudent... so doing this stuff now makes a lot of sense, especially in the low-rate environment that Trump seems intent on continuing for a while.... so I’m voting yes.

3 people like this
Posted by Right On
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2020 at 7:59 pm

Single paned windows aren't that bad. This is an absurdity to put so much emphasis on that. At no cost to the district, they could have had solar panels put on each school years ago, and locked in a much lower electricity cost for that entire time. But they didn't. Now they pretend they need bond money to do solar. It's not true. Their plans are very non committal, and they have no schedule as to when they will do what. They reserve the right to change their minds. DON'T GIVE THE MONEY TO PLAY AROUND WITH!

1 person likes this
Posted by Right On
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2020 at 8:22 pm

Consider that most students live in homes with single paned windows. In order for a school to be most effective in saving energy, the school should install a central HVAC energy management system. Right now classrooms are probably being heated outside of the hours they are occupied. This is much more important than changing out all the windows. We do live in a temperate climate. The windows aren't losing energy during most of the season.

2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 23, 2020 at 8:51 pm

While the proponents have never challenged the interpretation that Measure T and Measure G (Foothill-De Anza bond) limit how quickly bonds may be sold, another way to read the language of the measures is simply that the districts expect to collect the amount stated each year to repay the bonds with interest (if sold at the current low rate). So, as to Measure T, $259 million borrowed would be repaid over 3 decades at $18.6 million per year. But if the interest rate rises before the money is borrowed (by selling bonds), the total pricetag rises and may soar. As to a spending plan, any plan not in the measure can simply be changed. The bond measures (and the college district's parcel tax) are for SLUSH FUNDS.

7 people like this
Posted by Won’t vote for Measure T
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 24, 2020 at 10:27 am

As long as Ayinde and Carmen are there and increasing their own salaries- no way. Need new district leadership and school board.

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