Tag Archives: measure

West Sac voters will face $49.8 million school bond in November

Local school district doesn’t plan to build any news schools, but does hope to pay for some repairs and upgrades at West Sacramento campuses

— NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 2, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters will be asked to approve a $49.8 million school bond on the November 4 general election ballot.

If the bond measure earns the required 55 percent voter approval, it will help fund the local school district’s laundry list of needed capital improvements –possible items such as fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems.

A motion to place the bond on the November ballot passed 4-0 at last Thursday’s meeting of the Washington Unified School District board of trustees. The action needed all four “yes” votes to take effect – and board member Alicia Cruz overcame her initial reluctance to support a 2014 bond and eventually provided the needed fourth vote.

Board member Adam Menke was absent from the meeting. Cruz joined fellow trustees Katie Villegas, Mary Leland and Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez in supporting the bond.

MARY LELAND: ‘community will support this bond’ (News-Ledger file photo)

MARY LELAND:
‘community will support this bond’
(News-Ledger file photo)

Board member Mary Leland was the first of the group to speak up after hearing a staff presentation on the proposed school bond. She noted that the bond would pay for campus safety measures and “ADA,” or “Americans with Disabilities Act,” compliance.

“I’ve been very anxious to see this on the agenda,” commented Leland at the meeting. “The community is willing to support this bond, and safety is very highly rated on their list. . . In addition, we’re not going to be able to provide career and college readiness if our facilities aren’t up to date.”

“I admit I as on the fence, going back and forth wondering if this was the right time,” added board colleague Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez.

SARAH KIRBY- GONZALEZ:  ‘let the voters’ decide’ (News-Ledger file photo)

SARAH KIRBY-
GONZALEZ:
‘let the voters’ decide’
(News-Ledger file photo)

She called for a “carefully thought-out” bond expenditure plan and warned that “it’s important to realize the bond will not fix everything.” The bond money would pay for about a quarter of the district’s capital improvements costs, said Kirby-Gonzalez.

Trustee Katie Villegas, who as a private citizen headed up a previous WUSD school bond measure, recalled that running a bond campaign is “a ton of work.” That bond paid for the new River City High School campus.

“I literally ran that high school bond day to day from my garage,” she said. “We’re at a time now where we need to make some investments, particularly in the north area, in our aging schools.”

Alicia Cruz, chairing the meeting, initially dissented.

“I don’t feel this is the right time for a bond,” she said, earning a bout of polite persuasion from her colleagues on the board.

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond (News-Ledger file photo)

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond
(News-Ledger file photo)

Her colleagues seemed to agree that waiting for the higher turnout of a 2016 presidential election might give the bond a better chance to pass.

“But can our district wait that  much time?” asked Villegas.  At one point, Villegas added:

“This isn’t for building a new high school or anything. This is basic stuff. Have you been to Bryte (Elementary School) lately? It’s horrible.”

Kirby-Gonzalez spoke for the majority when she suggested the board simply vote to put the bond on the November ballot, and then see what West Sacramento voters have to say about it.

“I would argue that we just put it out there,” she said. “We put it out there and let them make a choice.”

Cruz detailed one of her objections, which was to the lengthy list of possible projects that bond money could be spent on.

“What scares me is the list of items the bond will cover,” said Cruz. “I think it’s voluminous. I don’t think it’s specific.”

KATIE VILLEGAS:  campaign will be  ‘a ton of work’ (News-Ledger file photo)

KATIE VILLEGAS:
campaign will be
‘a ton of work’
(News-Ledger file photo)

But despite having “that feeling in your gut that says this is not the thing,” concluded Cruz, she eventually agreed to provide the needed fourth vote.

Why?

“Because I am part of a team and I know the district needs this,” she told her colleagues.

The per-household cost of the bond has been estimated downward. The bond resolution capped the cost at $60 per year for every $100,000 in property value, but the board was advised last week that the actual cost would be about $39 annually for every $100,000 in property value. A $300,000 home, therefore, would be taxed around $117 per year over the life of the bond repayment.

The school district conducted a public survey in February to gauge public support for a 2014 bond.

“Although the results were positive, it was clear that a bond campaign would be needed to ensure the public was aware of the need for facility funding that exceeded both (WUSD’s) and the State’s capacity,” noted a district staff report.

The community has a mixed record of supporting school bond measures.

In other business, the school board was briefed on the school district’s budget. The big picture view of the budget is that WUSD is recovering from several years of deficit spending as the State of California’s finances improve. The local district is, to some degree, repairing and rebuilding programs.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac school board ponders a bond

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — JUNE 26, 2014 —

West Sacramento’s school district tonight will discuss putting a $49.8 million bond on the November 4 ballot, where it would need 55 percent of the vote to succeed.

The money would be used to help fund a lengthy list of repairs and upgrades to facilities in the Washington Unified School District, including fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems. The projects are in the district’s “Capitol Improvement Program.”

Property owners would repay the bonds, with assessments not to exceed $60 per $100,000 of assessed value annually, says the proposed bond resolution. Thus, a homeowner whose house is valued at $300,000 on the tax roll would pay up to $180 per year for bond repayment.

The district sponsored a survey in February which they believe shows a bond measure in November could be successful, provided a campaign educates the public about “the need for facility funding that exceeded both the District and the State’s capacity,” according to a district staff report.

The proposed bond will be part of the school board meeting that begins tonight (Thursday, June 26) at 6 p.m. at city hall, 1110 West Capitol Avenue.

More in next week’s News-Ledger newspaper.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Measure G’ for West Sac voters

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 1, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

With the dissolution of its redevelopment agency, a lot of the property tax money West Sacramento used to finance big infrastructure projects and help encourage development will be directed other places — like the State of California.

[adrotate group=”9″]   But some will find its way back to the City of West Sacramento. City staff estimates the city will get about $2.5 million from the Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund in the current fiscal year.

The city council has a current policy that this money will serve some of the same purposes that redevelopment did, by heading into the Community Investment Program.

There, says a city staff report, the money will go to “core activities [including] infrastructure project funding and project delivery (planning, design and project management), economic development (business attraction, retention and expansion efforts), and real estate transactions (land acquisition and disposition related to infrastructure projects and development site assembly).”

Tonight, the council will talk about making this a long-term city policy by putting an advisory measure on the November ballot in West Sacramento. The ballot measure could ask the following question:

“Should the City direct ongoing revenue it receives from the dissolution of its Redevelopment Agency to fund community investment projects such as streets, bridges, transportation, and public infrastructure?”

CHRIS LEDESMA, West Sacramento City Council Member (News-Ledger file photo)

City council member Chris Ledesma is one of those studying how West Sacramento can promote economic development (think of the renaissance now underway in the Bridge District) without a redevelopment agency. He thinks earmarking these funds for “community investment” is a good idea.

“We’re proposing that some of these residual dollars that come back can be directed to some of the same purposes as redevelopment, to maintain our momentum,” said Ledesma. “What we’re trying to get at with this advisory measure. . . is to go to the voters and see if they think this is a good use of the money.”

Ledesma said West Sacramento is better off than many cities, which are struggling just to keep basic services running at an acceptable level in this economy.

If the council approves the planned advisory measure, it will be added to the November 6 presidential ballot. The Yolo County Elections Department plans to call it “Measure G.”

It would be a non-binding ballot measure. Anyone who wishes to draft an opposing argument for the ballot will have until Aug. 20 to submit an argument of up to 250 words for consideration.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

WUSD explores November school bond

[adrotate group=”10″] NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 23, 2012  —

The Washington Unified School District’s board of trustees will meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday at city hall, 1110 West Capitol Ave.

Among the many agenda items will be a presentation on the steps needed to place a general obligation school bond on the November ballot.

The presentation will be given by Jonathan Edwards of Government Financial Strategies, the district’s financial advisor.

Details of any bond measure are still yet to be worked out.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012