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San Carlos School District Likely to Move Forward With School Bond Measure.

by Chuck Gillooley

$52M for School Improvement.

According to Bonnie Eslinger’s article in the San Jose Mercury news last week, the San Carlos School District Board is leaning toward putting a bond measure on November’s ballot that will raise approximately $52M for San Carlos schools.   The District got positive feedback from the majority of the 400+ registered voters that were polled would said they would vote favorably for an additional assessment of about $26 per $100,000 of the assessed value of their property.   This money would be used to upgrade the facilities and classroom equipment, as well as add capacity to handle the increasing number of students the district expects in the coming years.

In that respect, the characteristics that make San Carlos such a desirable place to live have become the district’s biggest problem to solve.    As California continues to slash education budgets, home buyers with school-age children are forced to push the quality of the school district to the top of their priority list when selecting where they will buy a home.    This factor, combined with the other great attributes of San Carlos — such as location, downtown and weather — has resulted in a significant uptick in number of families buying homes in San Carlos, and the number of children slated to attend school here in the coming years.  The impact is already being felt, as nearly every school in the district is grappling with over-enrollment issues.

How Will You Vote?

If the School Board proceeds with a bond measure in the November election, as many believe they will do, how will you vote?  This isn’t the first time that San Carlos residents have been down this path — there are already two separate assessments for the school district that are attached to every property in San Carlos right now.   And every time the topic of a school bond measure is tabled, there’s certainly spirited debate to follow.

There’s a new poll at the top of the site — be sure to vote which direction you’ll go in November if the measure becomes a reality, and feel free to weigh in with any comments…
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San Carlos School District Likely to Move Forward With School Bond Measure., 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
Comments 11
  • Two considerations for me as I assess my vote:

    (1) I don’t have any kids but am considering and if things go well, we may in a few years time. Building a good education system takes years, maybe decades and I hope an investment pays off in the longer term.

    (2) We don’t end up having kids but an investment now builds a better school system that makes other young parents want to move to San Carlos. This drives up demand for local housing and thus property prices. If this happens, I hope my couple of hundred bucks to low one thousand bucks investment returns at least tens of thousands of property appreciation. Of course, this is hard to measure ROI specifically on this investment, but I see it as a community building investment fund to bring other affluent parents into the neighborhood (part of why I like San Carlos).

    My vote is IN FAVOR of the bond initiative.

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  • I am really not sure what to think of this. I am generally in favor of school bonds, but this one is a little hard to swallow, because we just approved one last year. I know last year’s was a continuation of a previous one and not a totally new one, but it would be easier to be in favor of this now if they hadn’t just asked for money last year.

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  • These are the reasons given: “repair aging classrooms; modernize libraries and science and computer labs; improve energy efficiency; upgrade classroom computers and instructional technology; relieve school overcrowding; and make school safety improvements.”

    After watching all my children go through the school system, I can tell you that money would be wasted on computer labs, libraries and other facility upgrades. Please, no bond money for improving athletic facilities! Money needs to be spent on improving the brain with enhanced core curriculum instruction as well as piloting an after school tutoring program. For instance, we have many elementary math and science teachers barely qualified or have the interest to teach those subjects. Reduced class size is also important.

    I would vote YES if improved instruction was the intent of this bond measure. I would vote NO if facility and non essential upgrades was on the agenda. One thing for sure, once a bond measure is passed, it’s very rare of it not to be up for renewal like the aforementioned “parcel tax”. Before you know it, every other year, we’ll be voting on a bond renewal measure. District officials need to step back and think before placing this on the ballot.

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  • I looked at my property tax records this morning and we’re still paying for Measure A bond as well as a parcel tax for schools. In my case it’s close to $200. Add in the “voluntary” donations to SCEF, and you have a healthy chunk of change out of my pocket. I don’t think I’ll be in favor of another bond measure.

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  • To the general public, when it comes to schools needing money, it seems the administration is convinced they will never have enough. After the last parcel tax passed and we were told they miscalculated what they needed, it makes you wonder who’s in charge (and why).

    ITo me, it seems they need to be much more careful when asking for money. When I see the multi-million dollar homes selling at such a brisk pace, I have to wonder where the added tax money (and it is significant) is going to go.

    More effort needs to be made to reach out to the homeowners who’s money they so desperately desire.

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  • It’s a NO vote for me. I was educated in California during the Golden Age everyone refers to (pre prop 13 when CA schools led the nation). My classes had 32+ students. Instead of wasting money on a seperate buildings for 4th and 5th graders, keep the schools the same and add students per classroom. Each class should have 32 students-not 24! Please people of San Carlos, the Teacher’s Union is killing us! They are not benefitting the students!

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  • I agree. Without changing the current policy in evaluating teachers’ performance, throwing in more money does not improve our schools’ quality.

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  • I was perusing Chuck’s site and noticed the comments on the District’s proposed bond measure. While I’m not on the Board any more, I’d like to point out a few things.

    It’s certainly true from a taxpayer point of view that parcel taxes and bond measures are the same, since they both require paying higher taxes. But from a district’s perspective they are distinct. By law, money raised to maintain/modernize/expand facilities cannot be used to pay for operating expenses (e.g., salaries). When a community pays higher taxes for a bond the outcome will be in the form of facilities, not salaries, benefits, classroom supplies (except perhaps for the initial stocking of a newly-built school), etc.

    The San Carlos School District has two gymnasiums, one for each of the two middle schools. So far as I know, money from the proposed measure will not be spent on new athletic facilities. In fact, most of the money is likely to be spent on building more capacity to deal with the greatly-enlarged student population. FYI, in the last ten years the District’s enrollment has grown about 50%, from just over 2,000 students to over 3,000. It’s projected to continue to rise.

    It’s common nowadays to disdain teachers and the work they do. There certainly are some teachers who need to do a better job, or find another profession. But the San Carlos Elementary School District has an excellent teaching (and administrative) staff who have done wonders with limited resources (on a per student basis our district is still one of the lowest funded districts in San Mateo County). The proposal isn’t to raise money for a statewide school construction program. It’s to raise money to expand and improve our neighborhood schools. To me, how well we may think teachers elsewhere are doing their jobs doesn’t enter into the equation.

    Current student/teacher ratios are around 23/24 to 1 in K-3, 28/30 to 1 in 4th (maybe higher), and 32+ to 1 in 5th through 8th. It’s true the District used to operate at roughly 32:1 in all grade levels. But what people forget is that when that was the approach every teacher had a full-time classroom aide, which effectively reduced the student/teacher ratio. Also, today’s curriculum is also much more involved than it was back in the 32:1 days.

    I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with challenging the District’s request for funds. That’s a necessary part of the process. But for me, I view money spent on education as generating a very high rate of return. Not only in the form of higher home values, but also in raising an educated citizenry who will create fabulous new sources of wealth, and who will also be running the world before too long. I have a selfish interest in seeing that they’re as well-prepared as we can get them before they take the reins.

    – Mark

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    • Mark, while I respect your perspective, I think you’re sliding downhill on two counts.

      Firstly, this proposed bond measure is strictly a school construction issue couched in language like school safety improvement, energy efficiency, etc. Walk into any of the school computer labs and see if it’s even necessary to spend money in this area. It’s not like the kids are learning computer programming. I think you will agree that all almost all of students do their computer work at home. There is no need to upgrade computers, so let’s not waste money on those items. Therefore, the school bond measure should just say what it’s intended for; build more classrooms. It should not be cloaked behind other side issues. The arguments need to be transparent.

      Secondly, spending more money on education does not necessarily equate with a smarter citizenry. This country has spent more on education and has got less in return when compared to all other industrialized countries. I believe we rank in the lower third. Those San Carlos parents with very young children need to figure out how to pony up for these new facilities. Me? I’m done after paying parcel taxes, Measure A taxes and “voluntary” SCEF contributions every year for the past nine years. I have college tuitions to worry about. Incoming school parents need to push for mandatory yearly assessment fees if they’re really concerned about lack of space. The rest of us having other pressing financial needs and have paid our dues. That’s why I’ll be voting NO.

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      • wow, selfish much?

        I lived here 5 years with no kids. My taxes and fees supported the school that YOUR kids attend. And now that I have a 3 year old whose going to be starting in school in a few years, you want me to “pay my own way”? Seriously?

        I’ll tell you what… refund my money. I’ll happily pay my way … as long as you paid yours.

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  • Mark,
    I was not and am not against teachers. I truly appreciate the difficult work they do. What I am against is the Teacher’s Union which refuses to budge on issues re: benefits, retirement, ratios, etc. The Union has too much power and most Teacher’s I have spoken to (I have 3 in my family) realize that the Union could care lass about what is good for education. So please don’t take my NO vote as a reflection upon teachers.

    Also, when I was educated in California pre-prop 13 we had 32+ children per class and NO aide. We also led the nation in education!

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