This coming election, residents from Vallecito to the eastern county line will have the chance to vote on Measure E, which seeks to authorize an $11 million bond to fund repairs and building projects at all three campuses in the Vallecito Union School District. If passed, the measure will neither increase nor lower tax rates, but rather extend the 3-cents-per-$100 assessed valuation that taxpayers currently pay towards a previous bond issued two decades ago to fund the completion of Avery Middle School.
The old bond is set expire within the next three years, at which time the Measure E tax will come into effect for another 18 projected years.
“The reality is that maintaining and having schools is a local responsibility, and we hope everybody participates and helps us out,” said VUSD Superintendent Jim Frost regarding the measure on Monday.
Frost says the district conducted extensive research over the past year, administering surveys via internet and phone, and did not encounter any opposition to the measure among parents or other community members.
“Even from the retired population, support is strong,” Frost said. “(They) understand that good schools help make good communities.”
According to Frost, one of the most important aspects of the bond is that it opens up the door for increased state funding. Campuses that are over 25 years old may be allocated state funds for modifications – Avery Middle School is eligible for $850,000, but the district must match those funds with an additional $560,000 in order to access them.
Money from Measure E will go toward a long list of improvement projects at all three schools, including removing asbestos from gymnasiums, repairing and replacing old plumbing, and changing out inefficient diesel boilers at Hazel Fischer and Albert Michelson Elementaries with new heating and air systems.
“Some of this stuff is so old, we’re throwing good money after bad trying to repair it,” Frost said. “Last year, we spent almost $70,000 trying to repair boilers, and it comes straight out of education dollars.”
Some new building projects that the district hopes to complete are a cafeteria/multipurpose room and an all-weather field at Avery Middle School, and classrooms to replace the portable buildings at Albert Michelson Elementary.
If the measure passes in November, all expenditures will be reviewed and audited by a citizens’ oversight committee, and funds must be utilized exclusively for improvements and building projects within the district.
For more information on Measure E, visit the VUSD website.