Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Special District

Evergreen School District
Measure P - 55% Approval Required

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To increase student internet and computer access; upgrade school emergency preparedness; install campus security, emergency notification and communication alarms and systems; and retrofit and renovate classrooms and facilities throughout the District; shall Evergreen Elementary School District's measure to issue $80 million of bonds be adopted with projected annual tax rates averaging less than $0.03 per $100 assessed valuation for 12 years ($7.5 million per year for bond repayment), legal interest rates, annual audits and independent oversight?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

James R. Williams, County Counsel

 

California law permits school districts to issue bonds with the approval of 55 percent of the voters. Such bonds may only be used for 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. These bonds are required to be paid by the levy of ad valorem taxes—a tax on the assessed value—of property within a district.

 

 

 

The board of Trustees (Board) of the Evergreen Elementary School District (District) proposes to issue such bonds in the amount of up to $80,000,000 for the purposes of increasing student internet and computer access, upgrading school emergency preparedness; installing campus security systems; and retrofitting and renovation classrooms and facilities.

 

 

 

As identified in the Measure, projects may include but are not limited to:

 

 

 

Upgrade and/or acquire and install exterior lighting, fire detection and suppression, security alarm, video surveillance, access controls, communication systems, network, fixture, infrastructure, equipment and controls.

 

Improve, correct, restore or renovate grounds, buildings and structures or portions thereof to address health safety, and accessibility risks and compliance

 

Modernize, renovate, replace, re-configure, expand, construct, acquire and install, and/or upgrade classrooms, classroom buildings, labs, restroom, common areas and grounds and school support facilities.

 

Reconfigure, renovate resurface, improve and/or expand roads, sidewalks, pathways, walkways, driveway, paved areas, parking lots and relate areas, and pick-up/drop-off areas.

 

Renovate replace, repair, upgrade, expand, construct, acquire, install and/or improve play areas, hard courts, play fields, turf, fencing, landscape, hardscape and outdoor learning areas, including shade/rain structures and sitting areas.

 

Upgrade, acquire and install technology equipment, fixtures and infrastructure.

 

 

 

Projects costs include the costs of furnishing and equipping such facilities, and all costs that are incidental, but directly related, to the types of projects described in the measure.

 

 

 

The board has certified that it has evaluated safety, class size reduction, and information technology needs in developing its project list.

 

 

 

By law, these bond funds cannot be used for teacher and administrator salaries or other school operating expenses. The District also must conduct independent annual performance and financial audits. State law requires the district to have an independent citizens’ oversight committee to help make sure bond funds are spent only for projects included in the Measure.

 

 

 

The District’s stated best estimate of the highest tax rate to be levied to repay the proposed bonds is $30 per $100,000 of assessed value. The District estimates that the total debt service during the life of the bond, including principal and interest, will be approximately $90 million.

 

 

 

Measure P was placed on the ballot by the Board.

 

 

 

A “Yes” vote is a vote to authorize the issuance of the bonds in the amount of up to $80,000,000 to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the District.

 

 

 

A “no” vote is a vote to not authorize the issuance or the bonds.

 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

 

The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on our entire community, but especially on our schools. Without warning teachers and staff have been forced to find completely new ways to educate, stay connected with and care for our children.

 

 

 

Though this challenge, we all have learned a valuable lesson: crises don’t wait—we must prepare for any emergency.

 

 

 

We now see how critical it is that we ensure that our schools are safe, high-quality learning environments where children can thrive, no matter the circumstances.

 

Measure P will help us reach these goals by providing our schools with the financial tools to make essential improvements and better prepare our children for a changing world.

 

 

 

Projects to be funded by Measure P include:

 

 

1.       Provide a safe, modern learning environment

2.       Upgrading classroom learning technology

3.       Upgrade classrooms

4.       Upgrade school safety

5.       Upgrade fire and emergency systems

 

At the same time, we must not lose sight of the importance of protecting taxpayers. Measure P comes with iron-clad taxpayer protections to ensure that every tax dollar is carefully watched over and managed, including:

 

 

 

  • ·         Requiring that an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee and third-party auditor will review all expenditures
  • ·         Qualifying for state matching funds
  • ·         Prohibiting funds from being used for administrators’ salaries and benefits
  • ·         Guaranteeing that all bond money will be spent locally, not taken by the state for use elsewhere

 

 

 

It’s up to all of us to ensure that our schools are a place where children thrive. When our schools are successful, so is our community, with increasing property values and a brighter outlook for our future. Our schools are our most valuable public resource. Let’s make sure they stay that way.

 

 

 

Vote Yes on Measure P.

 

 

 

Arguments AGAINST

 

Just 6 years ago, the Evergreen Elementary School district placed on the ballot a $100,000,000 bond (debt) measure to do:

 

 

1.      Provide a safe, modern learning environment

2.       Upgrading classroom learning technology

3.       Upgrade classrooms

4.       Upgrade school safety

5.       Upgrade fire and emergency systems

 

 

 

Now just 6 years later, they want to spend $125,000,000 to do:

 

 

1.      Improve student access

2.       Acquire computers and classroom technology

3.       Modernize aging classrooms

4.       Install campus security/emergency notification

5.       Renovate facilities

 

 

 

Isn’t it amazing how fast schools deteriorate in just 6 years?

 

 

 

Would you take a 25-30 year loan to buy a personal computer that will be obsolete in 4 or 5 years? That would be nuts, right? But that is what the District asks for well over $150,000,000 in another 6 years to, once again, replace aging technology, that you will still be paying for, plus bond debt passed onto your children and likely your grandchildren.

 

 

 

The website: www.ed-data.org shows a steady declining student enrollment, now down to 10,426 students (2018/19), which means the bond expense is $11,385 per student not counting interest cost (up to 12%). And that is on top of the ADA revenues of $11,732 per student every year.

 

 

 

Using debt to buy technology that will be obsolete in 4 to 5 years is bad fiscal policy.

 

 

 

Vote No on Measure P and just say NO to bad fiscal policy.

 

 

 

A yes vote will just reward bad behavior. As parents, we know rewarding bad behavior, just gets you more bad behavior. That’s nuts!

 

 

 

Don’t burden your children and grandchildren with this debt!

 

 

 

Sent a clear message to the District: vote NO on Measure P.

 

 

 

For more information: www.svtaxpayer.org

 

 

 

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