Thursday, May 24 , 2018, 2:09 pm | Overcast 62º


Letter to the Editor: Bringing SYVUHSD Measure K Discussion into Proper Perspective

Measure K, the facility bond initiative placed before the voters on the November 8 ballot by the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District (SYVUSHD) has been billed by some as “almost identical” to a failed bond measure attempt by SYVUHSD in 2012.

Not true. I spoke with Superintendent Scott Cory regarding the details of both measures. The facts paint a more accurate picture.

SYVUHSD attempted to pass Measure L in 2012. It was a $19.8 million bond measure that was touted as focused on critical needs but included such things as paying off existing district debt, replacing portable classrooms with a permanent building and the creation of a $3 million technology endowment.

The noncritical needs totaled almost $16.5 million. Measure K has a laser focus on critical needs only and seeks $14.7 million solely for replacement or reconstruction of critical infrastructure.

Measure K would pay off issued bonds in 15 years instead of 30 to 40 years like the previous bond measure. The shorter payment term saves the taxpayers approximately $10.4 million. The previous bond measure had a proposed repayment cycle of 30 to 40 years with only .45 to .55 cents of every dollar going to project costs and the rest to interest. Measure K saves approximately 70 percent in interest costs and ensures that .75 to .80 cents of every dollar goes to project costs.

Measure K enlisted the services of a team of engineers to conduct a year-long evaluation of the SYHS campus to determine the most critical needs. Prior to the previous bond measure campaign, the district conducted a self-study to determine facility needs and identified only $950,000 for needed maintenance.

For Measure K, the district is doing its part to partner with the community on funding critical facility needs by budgeting $500,000 out of its reserve this year to pay for major facility repairs, seeking private funding for a much-needed new pool (saving taxpayers approximately $4 million), pursuing state school modernization funds to reduce the amount of the bonds issued, and leveraging local developer fees to fund other improvement projects on campus instead of using bond measure funds (another $1 million saved). For the previous bond measure campaign, there were no significant district financial contributions.

Measure K is something that I can support; it’s responsible and on target. Santa Ynez High School gets what it needs to address critical and necessary infrastructure upgrades and the taxpayers and community win.

As a lifetime resident of the Valley, business owner, SYHS parent and coach, I know that the campus is an integral part of our community for people of all ages. In addition to serving our high school students, it is also the largest and most highly used recreational facility in the Valley for everyone from the very young to the elderly.

I urge you to check out the SYHS website for a slideshow of all of the details, including pictures of the need, before you make your decision to vote. Thanks for your consideration.

Aaron Petersen

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