The district board met Tuesday in a public workgroup to discuss the language that will be part of a ballot measure that, if passed, would result in the tear-down and rebuild of Scotts Valley Middle School. Additionally, bond monies would improve earthquake and fire safety at Brook Knoll and Vine Hill elementary schools and with remaining monies, upgrade the technology infrastructure in the district.
According to current rates, homeowners would see an increase on their property tax bills of $57 per $100,000 assessed value, paid back over a 25 year period. The measure would require a 55-percent “yes” vote to pass.
Planning for the bond measure has been going on for about a year.
“We have done a lot of work to bring us to this point,” Superintendent Penny Weaver told the board after the Tuesday meeting.
In May 2013, the district received a comprehensive needs assessment report performed by Sally Swanson Architects that included input from many people in the district.
The board then received facilities reports in August and September 2013 that identified the specific structural, electrical, and safety issues at each of the school campuses. The full reports can be found at the district website, www.scottsvalleyusd.org.
Additionally, the facilities reports found deteriorating and inadequate fire safety systems at both elementary schools and seismic structural problems.
Based on the findings, the district board decided that passing a bond to rebuild Scotts Valley Middle School and improve safety at the elementary schools is the most feasible option.
The district has until March 7 to deliver an election order to the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s office.
The process picked up steam in January when the district hired bond counsel David Casnocha of Stradling’s Attorney’s at Law to draft language for the bond measure and ballot statement.
A draft of the ballot measure is available. The draft reads:
“To replace the 70-year-old Middle School with a new school, with up-to-date computer/learning technology, science labs, code-compliant/energy efficient electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling systems; upgrade, construct, acquire classrooms, schools, facilities, sites/equipment that meet accessibility requirements; make needed seismic repairs at elementary schools, and qualify for State matching funds, shall Scotts Valley Unified School District issue $35,000,000 in bonds, at legal rates, with independent oversight, no funds for administrators, all funds staying local?”
The full ballot text will be available on Friday.
The board will decide at its regular board meeting, 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Scotts Valley City Hall, 1 Civic Center Drive, whether to submit the ballot measure for the June 3 primary election.
An opinion poll of 250 district voters was performed by Gene Bregman of Gene Bregman and Associates. The poll found that voters’ top priorities were repairing leaky roofs, making schools safe from asbestos and dry rot and updating electrical systems to make them safe and bringing them up to code.
This will be the third bond measure the district has put to voters within the last 12 years. Voters rejected the first two, Measure B — a $44.2 million measure in 2002, and Measure Q — a $55 million measure in 2008.
However, Scotts Valley voters overwhelmingly passed a parcel tax in June 2012 designed to prevent layoffs of teachers and staff. Bond monies can only be used for construction-related costs, while the parcel tax was used for salaries.