The campaign in support of $460 million school bond Measure Z, which would fund the next two decades of facilities improvements across the Palo Alto school district, has raised almost $130,000 to date, with major donations from building firms that work with the district, campaign finance reports show.
The Committee for Strong Schools raised about $56,600, excluding non-monetary contributions, during the most recent reporting period, which covers Sept. 23 through Oct. 20.
Two major $10,000 donations came during the most recent reporting period from Rocklin-based BRCO Constructors, a general contractor that works for the district, and Palo Alto resident Laurene Powell Jobs.
fs3|Hodges, the district's primary construction firm, also gave $5,000 to the Measure Z committee, following a $10,000 contribution in August.
Concord-based construction company Sausal Corporation contributed $2,500 during this reporting period; CIS Inc. in Pacifica, which conducts building inspections for public school districts, contributed $1,500; and 3QC Inc. in Folsom, which provides design and construction services, gave $1,000.
During a previous reporting period, which covered Jan. 1 through Sept. 22, district architecture firm Gelfand Partners Architects gave $10,000; San Jose-based architecture firm Aedis, Inc. gave $10,000; Richmond-based Alten Construction Inc. gave $5,000; and Sunnyvale-based engineering and construction firm Cornerstone Earth Group gave $2,500, as did San Jose-based Carroll Engineering, Inc. and San Francisco-based design firm Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED).
Dannis Woliver Kelley, one of the district's primary law firms, gave $2,000 during the earlier reporting period.
James Baer, a local developer and the CEO of Palo Alto Land Use Consulting, gave $5,000 during the most recent reporting period, following a contribution of the same amount from his company in September.
The Committee for Strong Schools has also received 13 $998 donations from elementary, middle and high school parent-teacher associations (PTA).
The local classified employees' union, CSEA Palo Alto Chapter 301, gave $2,201 to the Measure Z committee. The California Teachers Association also contributed $625.
Local elected officials who have supported Measure Z include sitting board members Todd Collins ($500), Ken Dauber ($500), Jennifer DiBrienza ($500), Terry Godfrey ($600 total) and Melissa Baten Caswell ($400 total); Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor Joe Simitian ($200) and Santa Clara County Board of Education member Grace Mah ($250).
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Karen Hendricks also gave $100. Resident Neilson Buchanan contributed $750.
The committee reported $3,230 in non-monetary contributions from Alain Pinel Realtors, Coldwell Banker and Pacific Union, which provided facilities for phone banking, and from Susan Usman, the former president of Palo Alto Council of PTAs (PTAC), for meals for phone banking.
The Committee for Strong Schools spent about $42,500 during this reporting period on consulting, lawn signs, flyers, door hangers, translation services, advertisements and paid voter ID calls, campaign finance reports show.
With Election Day fast approaching, the committee still has $84,431 left in its campaign coffers.
If approved, the estimated new tax rate, including the continuing repayments of the 2008 bond and final years of the 1995 bond, will be about $100 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, or $1,000 per million dollars of assessed valuation (not fair market value). This amounts to an increase of $20 per $100,000 above what homeowners are currently paying.
The district is looking to Measure Z to fund a series of upgrades, including aging classrooms, science labs, seismic safety, fire alarms, emergency communication and accessibility for students with disabilities, the ballot text states. District staff worked with staff, teachers, students and parents at all schools to compile a wish list of potential projects and corresponding costs.
The current bond, which voters passed in 2008, has funded significant improvements across the district over the last decade, from new classrooms at the elementary and middle schools to Palo Alto High School's Performing Arts Center and Media Arts Center and Gunn High School's aquatic center and Central Building Project, but the district says more is still needed to keep the campuses up to standard over the next 20 years.
Measure Z needs 55 percent of the vote to pass.