School Board Eyes $210M Bond

It would add $51 per $100,000 of assessed value to a homeowner's property tax.

Pajaro Valley High senior JP Holbert will graduate this spring without ever playing a home football game at his school.

Every time his Grizzlies took the field, whether designated "home" or "away" team, there was a giant "A" (for Aptos) or "W" (for Watsonville) painted in the center of the field, he told the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees at a meeting Wednesday.

But there's hope that future PV High football players will have a field to call home.

The PVUSD Board of Trustees is favoring a bond measure that will generate $210 million for the maintenance and improvement of school facilities. That will levy an additional property tax of about $51 per $100,000 of assessed value on homeowners.

The average age of PVUSD schools is 45 to 50 years old.

"They're beginning to show a little bit of age and need for upgrade," said Brett McFadden, the chief business officer for PVUSD.

A school facilities master plan assessment presented to the school board earlier this year identified $250 million in projects, from adding energy-generating solar carports to re-roofing old buildings.

Recently, the play structure at Mar Vista Elementary School in Aptos had to be fenced off because it broke. There are unsafe stairs at the front of Aptos Junior High School.  and Pajaro's Hall District Elementary School are being repaired this month, McFadden told the board.

There are other problems, like what Holbert highlighted.

Seven years after Pajaro Valley High School opened, the school remains without full athletic facilities. This spring, Holbert and the rest of the track team take a bus across town to practice at Watsonville High School after school.

Finishing the PV High campus is one priority of the bond measure, which will go on

“If Pajaro Valley Valley was completed as a whole, students and student athletes alike would get credit for all the hard work and dedication we put in," Holbert told the board during a meeting Wednesday evening about the bond.

Other students, parents and school district staff also came to the meeting to advocate for upgrades at their respective schools.

Robert Hall, the father of two 7-year-old girls who attend Rio Del Mar Elementary School, said the lack of technology in Aptos-area schools is "alarming."

“Aptos is shortchanged on computers," said Hall, who works in Cupertino but picked his Aptos neighborhood specifically for its high-quality schools.

Alex Carranco, the varsity baseball coach at Pajaro Valley High School said having sports facilities would make all the difference to his student-athletes.

“They love the game but it’s really hard when you don’t have a playing field you can call home," he said. “My main goal is to keep kids in school and on the playing field.”

Markus Serrano, a Watsonville High senior, spoke about out-of-date classrooms.

“Our school's 119 years old, so our facilities are really old," Serrano said. "… We really need modernization in our school."

The bond package would also create endowments for ongoing maintenance and technology support that would future needs.

The board will receive one workable draft with policy options laid out in May 23 and make a final decision on the bond in June. The intiative will go on the November ballot.

David H. Perez April 19, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I think most would agree that the schools need a lot of help, and as a member of the community I have no problem paying my fair share, even though I have never had children enrolled in this school district. Making homeowners foot the entire bill is not the fair way to go, since we would be stuck paying for a family who rents a home and has 8 kids enrolled in school, and who would have to contribute nothing. I agree with another writer in an earlier article that said the only fair and equitable way to generate this revenue is through an increase in local sales tax, which would require everyone in the community to contribute, including those who are the biggest users of the school resources. I would vote in favor of a sales tax increase, but not in favor of any measure that would further target homeowners. I ask other homeowners to consider this and to also refuse to have your property taxes increased any more.
Jennifer Squires April 19, 2012 at 11:42 PM
David, they did discuss a flat parcel tax at the meeting (Robert Hall, the Aptos parent, suggested it) but the bottom line was it just doesn't work for this situation. The school board might look at that in the future, for the north zone, to fund more tech since those schools don't receive the special funds other PVUSD schools get.
David H. Perez April 20, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Even so, to get my vote and the votes of many others I know, they will need to come up with a plan that is more fair and equitable. We have a responsibility as a community to educate our children, and that means EVERYBODY needs to contribute, not just property owners.
Quite Big Bill April 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM
PVUSD has a lot of nerve complaining to the Public about their poverty. Ever since the Mello Center was built, nonprofit Bay Concert Arts has been trying to properly utilize the Taxpayers’ expensive local luxury property in order to raise funds for education. Had PVUSD treated BCA decently that first year – had our successful MacQuiddy School fundraiser not been attacked and destroyed by PVUSD’s sinister insiders – had they not blocked our every attempt to proceed normally since then - we would have raised a tremendous amount of money for local education by now. But all is not lost. Bay Concert Arts is still capable of raising an unlimited amount of local educational funding. We’re prepared to present a fundraising concert tonight – and every night henceforth - at the Mello Center. Today can still become the first day of PVUSD’s new Clean and Honest relationship with the local Voters. Turn those well-dressed panhandling bums down for their own good. If we give them another bottle of Tax Money, they’ll just get all drunk again on their own personal power and self-serving political image.


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