Yesterday the SDEA Board unanimously voted to endorse Proposition Z, a $2.8 billion school bond measure. If this bond measure were to pass, the money would be used for the maintenance and repairs of school facilities, student health and safety (for example removing asbestos from old buildings and putting air conditioning in schools south of I8), classroom technology and software upgrades, energy efficiency (for example solar power, recycled water, water saving plumbing), and ensure buildings are accessible and code compliant (according to ADA guidelines). $30 million of bond money would be used for schools and classrooms. When spread throughout the District, this would equate to $200 per student to spend as each school sees fit. There would be guidelines that each school needs to follow for the expenditure of these funds. The remainder of the $2.8 million would be used for the above mentioned repairs and improvements.
Why support Proposition Z? In 2014, state funds to maintain and repair school facilities will run out. This would mean that the District would be forced to use money from the general fund to pay for such things. If this happens, then the District’s budget will be even tighter and we will likely face even more cuts in the form of staff and salary reductions and classroom necessities because money from the general fund would have to be used for all the above mentioned items covered by Proposition Z.
Who opposes Proposition Z and why? Proposition Z raises the tax rate by an average of $180 per household annually. The measure is opposed by the Taxpayer’s Association, business interests, and most of those on the political right. They argue that it could be be seen as a payoff to construction unions. Some people may also oppose the measure because they believe that the current School Board is untrustworthy and cannot manage the District’s money. However, it is important to note that there will be an accountability and oversight committee of independent citizens monitoring the expenditure of these funds.
Clearly, as educators in the current economic climate, we cannot afford NOT to endorse Proposition Z. We all know how shrinking budgets negatively impact the education of our students.