Sequoia bond to refurbish schools

Publication Date: Wednesday Oct 30, 1996

EDUCATION: Sequoia bond to refurbish schools

$45 million Measure V needs two-thirds majority to pass

About 70,000 voters living in the Sequoia Union High School District will need to vote yes Nov. 5 if a $45 million school facilities bond measure is to pass.

Measure V would increase property taxes in Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Woodside, Redwood City, San Carlos and Belmont an average of $7.17 per $100,000 assessed valuation. The tax, which needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass, would start at $5.59 and peak at $12.11 annually over the 30-year life of the bond.

The money will allow the school district to fix its five schools--which are between 38 and 72 years old--as well as modernize and expand them. Some money also will be used to renovate and repair historic Carrington Hall, on the Sequoia High School campus.

The school board has directed the district to focus on four priorities at each school: safety, infrastructure needs, expansion and modernization.

"There will be some new, and there will be some upgrading," said district Business Manager Don Gielow.

The district plans to spend between $10 million and $15 million per high school, Gielow said. Each school will get an equal amount, about $6 million, for new construction and modernization, and then depending on their needs, an additional $4 million to $5 million for repairs.

According to a tentative budget, Menlo-Atherton High School would get $1.7 million to modernize classrooms, $1 million for a new roof, $1 million for plumbing and electrical, including resurfacing the pool, and money for various other repairs. It would get another $4 million that the school would decide how to spend--either on a library/media center, a new classroom wing, a new car turnaround, or possibly a recreation facility.

While the $45 million won't cover every need, "it will go a long, long way," Gielow said. "It's also a win-win for the community. It's going to help the economy. We will work toward maximizing the returns."

Schools may also be motivated to use some of their bond funds as seed money for special projects like theaters or recreational facilities, Gielow said. They could then go to the community or private foundations for the rest of the funding.

Measure V campaign organizers hired campaign consultant Ed McGovern, of Daly City, to direct the campaign efforts. He projects a 75 percent voter turnout. Measure V needs a two-thirds majority to pass.

The campaign, which has a $30,000 budget, is trying to reach 100,000 voters within the district. "It's mostly been education," McGovern said.

The campaign has held phone banks and organized the PTAs at the district's five high schools and at other schools to get the word out. The campaign has sent 2,500 mailers to absentee voters and plans to do one more direct mailing to all registered voters in the district before the campaign is over.

There is no organized opposition to Measure V, nor is there an official argument against the measure in the ballot statement.1 n

--Elizabeth Darling 

Back up to the Table of Contents Page