Gilroy parent of two in public schools needs a few answers before she can support bond measure

DEAR EDITOR:
Short of sounding ignorant, I have a couple of concerns about
Measure I before I can feel comfortable about making my decision. I
would appreciate a response from someone who is knowledgeable about
the bond and not someone who is speculating.
DEAR EDITOR:

Short of sounding ignorant, I have a couple of concerns about Measure I before I can feel comfortable about making my decision. I would appreciate a response from someone who is knowledgeable about the bond and not someone who is speculating.

I have read and re-read my absentee voter ballot, asked a woman who called last week to get my support on the bond and visited the web site and still, the answers are not there. Let’s not make it difficult. Not everyone is going to write to The Dispatch to get answers. They will just vote “no.”

First concern: If a new high school is slated to have Phase One completed (enough to house 900 students), what happens when we discover we need the other 50 percent of the school to be completed? Who will pay for that? Will homeowners be approached again for the balance to come out of their pockets? That is a major concern. Who the heck ever heard of building half of a school? Is that a joke? The numbers show there will be a demand for a WHOLE high school (there is a demand for it now!). Who are we kidding? Don’t come back to me in five years and ask me to dig into my pocket again!

Secondly, and of equal importance, could someone explain, in detail, the true definition of page 042-043 of the absentee voter ballot? I will paraphrase. “… estimated taxes are based on the assessed value of taxable property, not on the property’s market value (I understand that part).

“… the foregoing information is based upon the District’s projections and estimates only (talking about the $ 57.05 per $ 100,000). The actual tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary from those presently estimated, due to variations from these estimates in the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold and market interest rates at the time of each sale, and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds. The dates of sale and the amount of bonds sold at any given time will be determined BY THE DISTRICT on need for construction funds and OTHER FACTORS, including legal limitations on bonds approved by a 55% vote.”

It continues on, but that is most of it. My question – will the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee be monitoring not only how the bond money is being spent but the sale of and the timing of bonds being sold? Or, does the district get to say “Ok, we need more money – sell!” with no regard to the timing and cost? I smell a big fat rat.

Please do not get me wrong. I have two children in the GUSD – one at the elementary level and one at Gilroy High. I am all for major renovations for the high school. Anyone that has even spent five minutes on that campus knows the school is tired, bulging at the seams and has many inadequate facilities. The majority of other schools need serious help, as well. Whether they are in the condition they are in because of lack of responsibility from the District, because they are old and have seen thousands and thousands of kids go through them or a combination of both is really water under the bridge at this point. Right or wrong, we can’t go back. We can go forward but it needs to be done right. A lot of money is at stake here.

I want some very clear answers before I can feel comfortable enough to vote “yes” on the bond. I can’t trust the District will do the right thing. They have not proven themselves to the public or to me, as a parent. We have some ducks in place, but I don’t see all of our ducks in a row yet.

Sheri Meskimen, Gilroy

Submitted Thursday, Oct. 17 to [email protected]

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