Letter: Support Measure A on June 3
Jun 02, 2014 | 2899 views | 9 9 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print

To the editor:

I have spoken with several hundred Scotts Valley residents about Measure A. Everyone understands the need to replace the middle school, sooner rather than later. The two objections raised are that taxes are already too high and the state should pay for it.

Our taxes pay for a lot of public infrastructure and services. Some services we use, some we don’t. The taxes to be collected for Measure A will be used exclusively to benefit the children of this community and the teachers that serve them. My kids are now beyond the middle school, but that doesn’t make rebuilding it any less important. It’s an investment in my community, and in retaining strong property values. Our school buildings are shared assets, and I see Measure A as a shared investment.

The school district is positioning itself to receive matching funds from the state, with expectations for a state school construction bond in November 2014 or 2016 (there is significant pent up demand statewide for new school construction). In order to receive matching funds, we need to have our own funds in hand. So, our best hope for reducing our local tax burden is to impose this tax burden on ourselves. It’s crazy. But by understanding that, and passing Measure A, we take our best shot at getting the state to send more of our tax dollars back home.

Voters who support this project, and who want to move past this longstanding black eye in our local public infrastructure, must make the effort to vote YES on Measure A. It is not enough to just express your support. We need your vote. Let’s make this the last time we revisit this issue. Rebuild Scotts Valley Middle School. Vote “YES” on Measure A.

Michael Shulman

Scotts Valley School Board Trustee

Comments
(9)
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Consuella brave
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June 02, 2014
As a teacher and parent, I know that this is not the way to build a school back up. It is not about the buildings--but the family support.

This is a heavy tax burden for our seniors and there is NO SENIOR EXEMPTION. THIS IS UNFAIR TO THOSE WHO WORKED SO HARD AND ARE ON A FIXED INCOME. This will drive many out of the area--or they will be eating cat food to survive.

Find a better way to build ONE school, and stop using the safety issue. My son was never in peril when he was there. He had a fine education. THIS IS a 30-YEAR COMMITMENT OF TAXES!!!
Lets Vote YES on A
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June 03, 2014
Because this IS about the buildings.

This IS about safety issues.

This IS about our future...

YES on Measure A!
Big Paco 55
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June 03, 2014
VOTE NO! this is not a safety issue. they want you to think it is. talking to a supporter of this measure they don't even know the real cost!!!! they don't know where the kids will be housed while the new school is being built. what do they know. This is a TAX we can not live with. 30 YEARS of payments. if you look at your tax bill we are already paying $1000.00 for schools in Santa Cruz. NO NEW TAXES!!!!!
Lou Lunari
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June 03, 2014
If this IS about buildings, and it IS about safety, and it IS about our future.....

Then why on earth didn't the district address those issues during and after the last several money-raising efforts?
Big Paco 55
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June 03, 2014
If it is about Safety then you are saying that those kids are in danger? this is the first i have heard it is a safety issue. then why are those kids in an unsafe building. It must have been RED tagged as unsafe building? If the administrators knowingly housed our children in an "unsafe building" then we need to address this ASAP. Please provide documentation papers that say it is "unsafe". OH that's right you can't because they don't exist. this is just another scare tactic to get us to vote for this TAX! This is just another reason to not trust this Measure A. VOTE NO ON A.
Big Paco 55
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June 03, 2014
I would like to here from Mr. Shulman about this issue of safety. Is the school unsafe for our kids? If this Measure A does not pass should i remove my child form the school because it is "unsafe"?

Michael Shulman
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June 03, 2014
SVMS is not "unsafe". It does not conform to current building, fire, electrical, plumbing, or seismic codes, however, which places it and everyone in it at an elevated risk. Were an earthquake to occur, or a fire break out, our ability to manage the situation would be compromised. This is the case with all older structures, and the older the structure, the less compliant and more vulnerable it is. As a 73 year old structure, SVMS is among the oldest in the area.

The district has spent an excessive amount of money and labor keeping the facility serviceable. What choice do we have? Now is the time for the community to make the right choice, to rebuild this structure and significantly reduce both the safety risks for students who attend and teachers who work there, and to allow the district to spend its operational funds on educating the students rather than putting bandaids on this severely deteriorated building.

Yes, this is about safety. But it's also about education, and it's about investing in the community and investing in your own home values. It is money out of pocket today (and for the next 25 years). But there is no other investment an individual property owner can make that can do so much, for so little, to ensure retention and growth of their property's value than to support the public school system. People spend a premium to purchase property in Scotts Valley, specifically because of the school system.

I understand people's complaints about high taxes, and some would argue for 'means testing' to exempt those who are truly strapped for cash flow. But the law doesn't allow for that. Many of those who argue against taxes just don't like taxes; not because they can't afford them but they just don't want to pay them. And yet they use the full range of public services that are funded by those taxes. Our society funds public services and public infrastructure through taxes -- sometimes on property, sometimes on sales, or on income, or on any number of other items. As local residents, the school board would certainly prefer that this would be funded by "someone else". But there is no one else. It's us. And maybe the state, if we qualify for matching funds. So let's do it and move forward.
Big Paco 55
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June 03, 2014
Mr. Shulman. that was a very nice response to my post. While you make a compelling argument that our property values will go up you can't guarantee it. You don't even know how much this will really cost. It could be more it could be less. You don't know where the kids will be housed, there seems to be a lot of unknowns. While i have lived in SV for 25 plus years it seems like there is one tax after another. $57 per $100,000 assessed value per year for 25 years. That is $400 more per year if you just purchased a house on SV Drive for $700K on already high property taxes. Whats is next? Speaking of up to Code, is the High School up to Code? How will build this school? Surly not the same one that built the High School.

This is not the time to raise taxes. We are just starting to get out of the problems of the recession lets not cause people of SV anymore hardships. VOTE NO on A.
Michael Shulman
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June 03, 2014
Big Paco, it's just a question of what you want. If SV wants a new middle school -- and no one is questioning the need -- then we need to pay for it. I'd like it to be otherwise; I'd like the school fairy to come down and do it for free. But we're living in the real world, and if you want something of value you need to give something of value. In this case, it's money. The good news is that we stand a very good chance of qualifying for state matching funds, which should become available in the next couple of years. If that occurs, our local burden will decrease, possibly by quite a bit.

Measure K was a 3 year, very small ($48/year) parcel tax that expires after next year. The previous and only other tax measure ever established by the SV school district was that which paid for the high school, way back in 1994. Those bonds time out in another 10 years. So it's just not true that there has been "one tax after another".

The high school complies with all of the codes that were in place when it was built. But it was frought with construction defects; we sued over those and received some settlement money. There's no question that it was a horribly bungled project. The district learned from the experience, as did the state which (several years ago) changed the rules regarding how school construction bids are accepted. We are very determined to do this well. I won't say "trust us", but I will say "join us" -- participate in the process as we engage the community through the design of the new facility. Come be a part of this. If you'll be paying for it, you might as well have a say in it.


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