Local school bond, tax measures on ballot

October 15, 2008 1:33:41 PM PDT
Voters in six school districts in Contra Costa County will be considering school bond and parcel tax measures in the upcoming presidential election.

John Swett Unified School District officials are asking voters in Crockett and Rodeo to pass a $20 million bond measure to help pay for renovations of John Swett Union High School in Crockett.

The 81-year-old facility has not seen any major renovations since an earthquake damaged the building in the mid-1930s.

In Measure A, the school district has proposed to raise property taxes by $42 per $100,000 of assessed value to pay for the bonds.

No arguments against the measure have been filed.

The Acalanes Union High School District, which serves residents of Canyon, Moraga, Lafayette, Orinda and Walnut Creek, is asking voters to approve Measure E, a $93 million bond measure to establish a technology fund and upgrade and renovate the district's four high schools and the adult education facility.

The district has stated that approval of the measure will not increase property taxes above the $35.58 per $100,000 of assessed property value that voters approved for a bond measure in 2002.

Opponents of the bill argued that the district has already issued three bond measures that residents are still paying for and should use money from the general fund to make necessary repairs.

Opponents have also accused the school district of mismanaging funds from the previous bond measures.

Both bond measures require 55 percent voter approval to pass.

In measures B, C and M, the Martinez Unified School District, the Pittsburg Unified School District and the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, which serves some students in Contra Costa County, are asking voters to approve annual parcel taxes to keep class sizes small, attract and retain quality teachers and maintain programs.

Martinez is asking voters to agree to pay an annual $50 per parcel, Pittsburg is asking for an annual $65 per parcel and Livermore is asking for an annual $138 per parcel.

No arguments against measures B, C or M have been filed.

Martinez voters are also being asked to approve Measure H, a $30 million bond measure to repair, renovate and improve the city's parks, playgrounds and sports fields and to replace Rankin Pool, which is in danger of being closed down by the health department. Measure H would mean an additional $90 per year for the average homeowner.

Opponents of the measure, who include County Assessor Gus Kramer, former Mayor John Sparacino and County Treasurer William J. Pollacek, are asking voters to invest in education instead of parks by voting for Measure B, the school district's parcel tax measure, instead of Measure H.

In Measure D, the West Contra Costa Unified School District is asking voters to renew an existing parcel tax for an additional five years to help improve education in the district. Voters last year rejected a similar measure and opponents of the measure have asked them to do so again.

The four parcel tax measures and Measure H require two-thirds voter approval to pass.


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