By Jay Beck, Quinn Brady and Gregory Francisco Gillett, Volunteer Co-Chairs of Taxpayers for Safe Schools; Yes on C-22
During our campaign for Measure C-22, the vast majority of voters have told us they will vote yes on this local school improvement measure. They see the value and need in rehabbing all 12 elementary and middle schools in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District.
Voters have asked us excellent questions, and we’re grateful to Estero Bay News for letting us share our answers about Measure C-22, which is on the Nov. 8 ballot.
What is Measure C-22 and why is it necessary?
If 55% of voters say yes, C-22 will raise $349 million to modernize the district’s 12 elementary and middle schools, plus Pacific Beach High School. Many of our schools are more than half a century old.
Despite diligent maintenance, the time has come when roofs, lighting, furniture, and HVAC systems need to be replaced.
What will my child’s school get from Measure C-22?
These improvements will be made in every school in the district:
• Air conditioning and state-of-the-art heating and ventilation systems.
• Modernized classrooms, including innovative teaching technologies.
• New roofs, flooring, lighting and furniture.
• Security upgrades such as perimeter fencing and automatic locking doors.
• Rehabilitated play fields, which will be available for community use.
Will C-22 enable more programming for children beyond traditional school hours?
There will be expanded space for T-K offerings as well as space that can enable more before-school and after-school programming, which will help parents with child-care issues.
Can we trust that all of this will happen?
Measure C-22 requires establishment of an independent oversight committee and regular audits to ensure the money is spent appropriately.
We are highly confident these improvements will be made because we’ve seen the impressive improvements made possible by Measure D-14, overwhelmingly approved in 2014 to upgrade Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo high schools. Please visit and see for yourself: You will be impressed – and proud.
We believe the school board and the administration will deliver in similar fashion for the elementary and middle schools.
Why doesn’t the state pay for this, and why spend money on buildings instead of education?
The state simply doesn’t invest in capital improvements other than a few small matching grants. If we want improved schools, then we have to vote for them locally. There’s nowhere else to turn.
Updated buildings are essential to educational excellence. Students learn best in clean, safe, modern facilities. Excellent teachers have choices about where they work, and they will choose districts that provide modern classrooms.
Can’t the district carve money out of its annual budget for these improvements?
“Carving” would mean substantially reducing teachers and staff while increasing class size. Here’s why:
About 85%, or $102 million of the district’s $120 million annual budget is spent on personnel costs. It would take decades to accumulate the $349 million that is desperately needed now.
What portion will be spent on modernizing the buildings compared to security measures?
Measure C-22 will rehab all of the school buildings top to bottom, inside and out.
About 95% will be spent on modernizing classrooms, fixing roofs, installing air conditioning, heating systems and other building upgrades.
Safety upgrades like fencing, alarms, locking doors and ADA accessibility are part of the rest. For an idea of what campus fencing will look like, visit Morro Bay High and SLO High to see that it’s possible to improve safety yet maintain a welcoming feel to our campuses.
These safety measures and other improvements address needs unimaginable when the schools were built a half century ago, when AC wasn’t necessary, when ventilation systems didn’t have to deal with infectious viruses, and electrical systems didn’t have to handle computers and other technologies.
How will the sports fields be improved?
Fields will be leveled, reseeded/sodded as needed, and water-conserving irrigation installed. Tracks and related facilities will be improved as well. All fields will be open to the public after school hours.
How much will Measure C-22 cost property owners?
The improvements will cost property owners $49 annually per $100,000 of assessed value. The county assessor sets the assessed valuation, which is typically much less than a home’s current market value.
Why are you co-chairing the campaign?
We volunteered because the needs are real, and because good schools contribute decisively to a community’s overall vitality. They help businesses attract and retain excellent employees, the kind who volunteer, engage in civic life and enrich our community.
Measure C-22’s improvements will benefit all of us now and for generations to come. Please vote YES on C-22.
For more information, go to www.YesonC22.com
Jay Beck is a community banker; Quinn Brady is a community organizer, and Gregory Francisco Gillett is an attorney. All have children attending local schools.