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Santa Ynez Valley School District Pitches $14.7 Million Bond Measure for Repairs

Superintendent Scott Cory says Measure K2016 would address only a 'needs list' of maintenance, not a 'wants list'

Deteriorating roofs are among repair and replacement projects the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District has identified as necessary. The district is putting a $14.7 million bond on the Nov. 8 ballot, and will need 55 percent voter approval for it to pass. Click to view larger
Deteriorating roofs are among repair and replacement projects the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District has identified as necessary. The district is putting a $14.7 million bond on the Nov. 8 ballot, and will need 55 percent voter approval for it to pass. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

With decaying pipes, a decrepit communication system and deteriorating roofs, the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District is asking voters to approve a $14.7 million bond measure to make repairs.

The district held one town hall meeting to inform voters about Measure K, and has a second set for 6 p.m. Oct. 11. The meeting begins with a 20-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

The district spent a year conducting a facilities assessment to look at the entire campus, dividing projects into three groups with a red dot denoting most urgent followed by yellow-dot and green-dot items.

“This measure, Measure K2016, tackles only the red-dot items,” Superintendent Scott Cory told Noozhawk. “So it’s not a wants list; it is a needs list — those things that are at the end of their useful life and are in need of either replacement or reconstruction.”

Projects would include:

» Replacing corroded pipes and plumbing with 3,900 linear feet identified as needing replacement

» Reconstructing and replacing deteriorating roofs

» Upgrading the fire alarm and emergency communication system

» Overhauling worn-out heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems

» Replacing and upgrading electrical systems to safely handle increased demands

» Upgrading handicap accessibility

» Renovating aging restrooms

“You won’t see new buildings, you won’t see technology,” Cory said. “You’re not going to see any kind of ‘want’ thing.

“It is all needs, and if we don’t replace it then we’re going to wind up having some significant issues.”

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District officials say 3,900 linear feet of pipes and plumbling have corroded and are in need of replacement.
Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District officials say 3,900 linear feet of pipes and plumbling have corroded and are in need of replacement. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Underground pipe failures have led to marshy spots in the grass or water coming up under tile after a pipe pulled away from a wall. After repairing one emergency leak, the district noticed a difference in the water bill of thousands of gallons of water.

A top priority is a fire alarm and communication system that is so old that replacement parts are no longer available for repairs.

To pass, the bond measure needs 55 percent approval from voters in the Nov. 8 election.

The district attempted a $19.8 million bond measure in 2012, but it failed to garner enough votes with only 47.48 percent voting in favor. It also needed 55 percent to pass.

In the opposition statement included on the 2016 ballot, those against Measure K contend that school bonds should not be used for deferred maintenance.

The opposition statement is signed by Michelle de Werd, a parent of a former student, Floyd Keinath, a retired county employee, and Allan Jones, an alumnus and parent. 

“It is OK to vote no on a school bond,” the statement says. “Property taxes are already increasing. Let’s keep property affordable for seniors and those on fixed incomes.”

Other opponents say the district should use state funding first, noting that Proposition 51, a $9 billion modernization and new construction initiative, also is on the ballot.

But Cory said state bonds require local districts to provide a 40 percent match to receive funding.

“You have to have money to get money,” he said, adding that developer fees cannot be used on the Measure K projects planned by the district.

Cory, who started as superintendent in 2013, said he took the time to review the previous measure, looking at the district’s and opposition campaigns.

“It had been touted as a critical needs thing, and there were definitely some rather expensive things that were included that didn’t rise to that bar,” he said.

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School was first built in the mid-1930s, making some facilities, such as the main Administration Building, 80 years old. Most of the classroom wings were built in the 1960s, with the “new gym,” Little Theatre and ag/auto shop building added in the 1970s.

The district, with two campuses that include Santa Ynez as well as Refugio High School for alternative education, boasts approximately 1,000 students. The high schools receive students from six elementary school districts in the Santa Ynez Valley.

In addition to the town hall meetings, Cory has been making presentations around the valley and is available to do others. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 805.688.6487 x3200.

Click here for the full presentation. The opposition statement also is available.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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