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Measure G: School District Approves Bond Measure

Sunnyvale School District recently approved a bond measure for the November 5, 2013 election. To help voters understand the scope of Measure G, the District Digest is publishing the following Frequently Asked Questions. This document will also be available in printed form at upcoming Back to School Nights across the district.

What is Measure G?

Measure G is a $96 million school bond to continue the renovation and modernization of all district schools, providing students and teachers with comparable classrooms and facilities. The bond will help provide schools with long term facility maintenance funds and updated instructional technology.

Four schools in Sunnyvale need to be modernized to the same standards as other schools in the district. Bishop Elementary, Cherry Chase Elementary, Ellis Elementary and Sunnyvale Middle School will be renovated to provide up to date classrooms, libraries and computer labs.

If voters approve Measure G, the district has committed to these initial projects:

•    Renovate and upgrade older classrooms.
•    Update and rebuild libraries and computer labs.
•    Expand school offices and student support service areas.
•    Add and renovate restrooms.
•    Upgrade schools through the use of clean and efficient “Green” energy systems.
•    Improve instructional technology.

How will Measure G impact the operating costs of the school district?

In the long term, Measure G will save the district funds by making the schools more energy efficient. The heating, ventilating and plumbing systems are old and inefficient. New energy efficient systems will save the district funds that can be spent directly for the benefit of students in the classrooms at our schools.

How will I know these bond funds will be spent as planned?

The School Board adopted a very specific resolution when calling for the election. All of the construction projects are listed in the resolution and must be independently audited each year. In addition, the District is required to appoint an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee to monitor and review all bond expenditures. This volunteer committee of local residents and taxpayers will make sure that all bond funds are spent as planned for the benefit of local students.

How much will Measure G cost me?

Measure G will cost property owners $15 per $100,000 of Assessed Valuation (not market value).

Can senior citizens apply for an exemption from Measure G?

No.  There are no exemptions provided for in the law that define how a general obligation bond is structured.  Low income senior citizens can, if they chose to, apply to have their taxes deferred under the provisions of State property tax law.

Can bond funds be used to pay teacher or administrator salaries?

No.  By law, bond funds can only pay for school construction projects and school facility furnishings and equipment. None of the funds can be spent on administrator or teacher salaries.

What about lottery funds?

State lottery monies cannot be used to fund these school projects.  State law expressly prohibits schools from using lottery funds for school construction projects.  (CA Government Code Section 8880.5).

Won’t the State provide the district with funding it needs to address these projects?

Currently, there are not sufficient state funds to cover the district’s facility needs, but passage of Measure G will provide the district with potential matching dollars if the state passes another bond in the future.

How does Measure G benefit the broader community?

Strong public schools are at the very heart of our community.  New families move here for the schools.  Empty nesters stay here for the quality of life fostered in a community that values education.  Strong schools improve real estate values in the best of times and stabilize home values when the market is low.

What is the difference between a bond and a parcel tax?

School bonds are used to raise school construction funds for classrooms and other school facilities. The tax rate is based on the assessed (not market) value of each property in the school district. A parcel tax charges each property owner the same amount each year—regardless of the assessed value of the property.  Parcel taxes are generally used to raise local funds to support classroom programs.

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