Gavilan considers $248M 2018 bond issue

Gavilan College President Kathleen Rose speaks at the Aug. 24 Leadership Professionals Panel at Council Chambers. The panel was part of Women's Week in Morgan Hill. Photo by Robert Eliason.

The Gavilan Joint Community College District Board of Trustees is considering placing a $248 million bond measure on the November 2018 ballot.

A recent survey found a sample of district residents, from Hollister to south San Jose, were in support of the measure, which would fund facility upgrades at the college’s main campus in Gilroy and build a new satellite center in San Benito County.

Gavilan College President Dr. Kathleen Rose said she felt good about the results, but remained cautiously optimistic.

“It’s a feasibility study and the whole reason Gavilan committed to the survey is because we wanted to take a measurement of how the community felt, wanted a holistic measurement of the whole district,” Rose said.

Rose said 610 voters likely to participate in the November 2018 election were surveyed between Aug. 31 and Sept. 14 via phone and email, in addition to online data collection.

Of those surveyed, 65 percent were in favor of a ballot measure and 27 percent against.

The results were presented at the college’s board meeting on Oct. 10.

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish with the average length spanning 17 minutes. The overall margin of error is +/- 3.95 percent.

A potential measure would repair/replace leaky roofs, rusty plumbing and faulty electrical systems, upgrade classrooms, labs and career training facilities, expand the Veteran’s Center, improve access for students with disabilities, improve student safety and campus security systems, add a campus in San Benito County and classrooms at the Coyote Valley center, and renovate the college library to meet modern standards for technology and research.

The measure would require a citizen’s oversight committee and a project list in order to inform the community exactly how and when the money will be spent.

“The board is ultimately going to make the decision going forward on this,” Gavilan Director of Public Information Jan Bernstein-Chargin said. “They’ll be thinking about it over the next few months.”

The feasibility study is another link in looking at the big picture for Gavilan College over the next 10 to 15 years, Rose said.

“Now that the information is out about the feasibility, it’s time for us, the college community, myself and the administration to continue to talk to the community about how they feel about a bond for 2018, the projects listed and the suitability for a bond at that time.”