State bond has a local impact

Election 2002

GILROY
– Forget the TV ads and the newspaper endorsements, just look
inside your mailbox and you’ll know campaigning has entered its
11th hour.
GILROY – Forget the TV ads and the newspaper endorsements, just look inside your mailbox and you’ll know campaigning has entered its 11th hour.

On Monday, just over a week before the Nov. 5 general election, Gilroy homeowners were greeted by pro-Measure I pamphlets in their mailboxes. Paid for by Better Schools for Gilroy Children, the letter-size, four-page glossy unfolds to show a district site map listing the construction, repairs and renovations the $69-million facilities bond will buy.

The glossy is part of a last ditch effort by the district to sway voters, 61 percent of whom plan on supporting Gilroy’s largest-ever school bond, according to rough polling data acquired earlier in October. Measure-I supporters say the mailer, however, does not indicate desperation on the part of the school district.

“We believe this is a campaign we can win, but it’s close enough that we believe we need to do everything in our plans to get all the support we can on Election Day,” said school board Trustee Bob Kraemer. “If we don’t do all the things necessary, then shame on us.”

Measure I needs 55 percent approval by voters next week.

“This is a very good visual that gives an interested voter specific information about plans for each school and where their tax dollar is going,” said Jim McDonald, media coordinator for the Measure-I campaign. “I know I as a voter would want to know those things,” McDonald, the principal of Britton Middle School in Morgan Hill, continued.

The details provided inside the glossy will “hold the district’s feet to the fire,” McDonald said. An oversight committee, which will follow the district’s progress in using the funds for their stated purposes, now has something on paper and distributed to the public that will help keep the district on target.

Tramutola Public Mobilization, the Oakland-based firm that is consulting for the district regarding Measure I, designed the mailer, said Kraemer. He declined to state the cost of designing and mailing the brochure, but said it was part of Better Schools for Gilroy Children’s Measure-I campaign costs.

Better Schools for Gilroy Children is a community-based support organization funded by private donations. The group will pay $65,000, in addition to campaigning costs, to Tramutola if the bond measure passes.

Each of the six school board candidates have publicly endorsed the bond which, in addition to making repairs and upgrades district-wide, will buy land for a new high school and begin construction on its general use buildings and enough classrooms to house 900 students.

Opponents are criticizing the school district for not funding repairs more efficiently through its regular budget. They also worry that over the 25-year life of the bond, interest on the bond’s principal will more than double the taxpayers’ final tab.

The school district will need monies in addition to the $69 million to complete all of the construction, repairs and improvements listed inside the glossy. Another $21 million from the state makes up a large chunk of that additional funding.

Proposition 47, a $13.05-billion bond also on the Nov. 5 ballot, is the linchpin in landing that money. Prop. 47 will fund construction, improvements and repairs to help relieve overcrowding in schools serving kindergarten through university students.

“We still would proceed with projects but it would impact the timing of the things that get done. It could force us to reevaluate which projects to do first,” said school board President Jim Rogers. “Eventually we would need some help from the state.”

The school district has not formally endorsed Prop. 47.

“Of course most of the people I’ve talked to support Proposition 47,” McDonald said. “Supporters of Measure I will likely be supporters of the state bond, too.”

Recent polls indicate that 59 percent of voters statewide, plus or minus 4 percent, will support Prop. 47 come Nov. 5.

“It’s a nice number but it’s not cause to sit back and kick our feet up,” said Nick DeLuca, a Yes on Prop. 47 campaign spokesperson whose group gathered the polling data.

Since it is a state bond, Prop. 47 only needs to win a simple majority vote in order to pass.

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