SVMS bond measure to appear in June ballot
by Joe Shreve
Feb 27, 2014 | 2501 views | 1 1 comments | 226 226 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scotts Valley Middle School. Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Scotts Valley Middle School. Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Scotts Valley Middle School. Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Scotts Valley Middle School. Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
It's now official. After a unanimous vote of the Scotts Valley Unified School District's Board of Trustees on Tuesday night, a proposal for a $35 million bond measure to replace the dilapidated Scotts Valley Middle School is officially headed for voters in the June 3 election.

After garnering the approval of the board, district officials moved quickly to file the formal paperwork with the Santa Cruz County Election Department the following afternoon.

If the measure — which has not yet been assigned a name — is approved, it will raise $35 million to completely rebuild the 70-year-old SVMS campus with modern facilities and provide funding for technological upgrades in the distric and earthquake safety improvements to the Brook Knoll and Vine Hill elementary campuses.

Trustee Michael Shulman — who worked on Measure Q, the district's unsuccessful $55 million proposal to replace the middle school in 2008 — said that he looked forward to getting back out on the campaign trail.

“I am more motivated than ever to see this through,” he said.

Shulman applauded the board's work to draft the proposal, and said that he believed that voters would respond positively to the proposal's focus and clarity.

“This is a smaller bond measure (than Measure Q),” Shulman said. “It's much more focused, and there's much more need.”

Trustee Sue Roth said that the middle school campus in its current state could even mislead those moving to the area because it does not do justice to the quality of the school's teachers and programs.

“There is a real turn-off that occurs,” she said.

To pay for the proposed bond, homeowners within the boundaries of the Scotts Valley Unified School District — which does extend outside the Scotts Valley city limits — will see an increase in their property tax bills over a 25-year span. The rate of increase will be determined based on a property's assessed value.

According to Shulman, the next move for the board will be to finalize the information regarding the proposal that will appear on voter information materials, as well as secure endorsements.

For more information regarding the bond measure proposal, including the preliminary text of the measure, visit

- To comment, e-mail reporter Joe Shreve at, call 438-2500 or post a comment at

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SV Res and Architect
March 18, 2014
Demolishing and then building a new SVMS is necessary and will only benefit the SV home owners in the long run by providing the total package for public school offering in the county. The additional funds for seismic upgrades to be performed at Vine Hill and Brook Knoll Elementary is a basic life safety issue with all the building science fully vetted as to how these structures will perform in a significant seismic event. Regarding the cost of the new school at $33MM; hard bids are of course necessary to solidify the construction budget, but the bids are only as good as the construction documents (drawings, specifications, and contracts) provided to the contractors to perform their take-offs. Budget overruns most often arise from a lack of information in the design documents, which then results in added scope (i.e. change orders).

If there is one thing the City can do to keep a large project such as this on schedule and within budget, it is to to engage a highly reputable third party architectural/engineering consulting firm to perform a pre-construction plan review of all construction documents including drawings, specifications, schedule, and contracts. That would at least ensure the design documents that a contractor provides a bid from, captures all work necessary to produce the middle school that the SV residents will hopefully agree to pay for.

One additional layer of defense, once the design documents are fully vetted by professional peer review, is to engage the same A&E firm to provide Owner's Representation for the City during the course of construction. This is the only way I know to ensure the funds requested each month by the general contractor, reflects actual work performed that period and the project has a significantly reduced potential to exceed the budget or schedule while not "value engineering" (usually removing or substituting with inferior materials) parts of the project. It would also provide additional assurances that the project is being built in accordance with the contract documents and is meeting all industry and manufacturer standards for quality of installation.

In my experience the fee for these services always pays for itself, and then some.

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