News

SRVHS community turns out to discuss possible facilities bond

A few dozen residents and several school administrators showed up for San Ramon Valley Unified's second community forum Monday night to hear details on a possible school facilities bond measure. Held at San Ramon Valley High School, the forum is one of four dedicated to informing voters on how the bond will affect their schools.

Although the bond amount has yet to be determined, the district has identified a list of potential capital projects that total over $235 million in modernization projects across 17 schools. Modernization includes replacement of aging roofs and HVAC systems, expanded digital bandwidth and wireless access, security upgrades and energy efficiency upgrades.

"Hand in hand with quality education is quality school buildings," said Chris Kenber, a former board member and former chair of the facilities oversight committee. "Technology is changing so rapidly, schools have to keep up with it."

Monday's meeting focused specifically on San Ramon Valley High and its feeder schools, among which are Stone Valley and Charlotte Wood middle schools as well as Rancho Romero and Sycamore Valley elementaries. Several tentative projects, including renovations at SRVHS and Stone Valley and the addition of a new library at Charlotte Wood are eligible for state matching dollars.

Although some of the modernization products at SRVHS include the demolition of single-story buildings and the construction of three-story classroom buildings to accommodate growth, Assistant Superintendent Christine Williams assured attendees that bond money will not just go toward building new wings but be put toward finishing schools' master plans, taking care of deferred maintenance and improving digital infrastructure.

"As a site principal, I can't underestimate the importance of digital infrastructure," said Charlotte Wood Principal Chris George. "In the next 3 to 5 years, the amount of digital things in the hands of kids is going to go up exponentially."

While most of the resident break-out discussion group agreed that improvements to technology infrastructure were crucial to provide students with learning tools for the future, several expressed concern about paying for facilities improvements without providing money for teachers. Superintendent Steven Enoch said the bond would cost homeowners between $20 and $30 per $100,000 assessed valuation and be paid back over 25 years.

According to Board of Education Member Denise Jennison, the school district could reduce the overall burden on taxpayers by refinancing bonds, saving residents millions. Regardless of whether it decides to refinance, the district does not plan around state matching funds. Any excess funds could be funneled back into SRVUSD's general fund and could be put back into the classrooms to support students, Jennison said.

Another resident, who has children in both middle and elementary school, said she was worried that parent donations to specific schools would decline if homeowners were forced to pay for an additional facilities bond. When San Ramon resident Vince Kyle questioned whether there was a sliding scale option for residents living in more construction and bond-money heavy school areas, Superintendent Steven Enoch said there was quite a bit of equity between feeder schools.

Rebecca Adams, a Stone Valley Elementary parent, encouraged district officials to tell residents that, "just because your school won't benefit from this bond, your kid will eventually be affected by it."

The proposed bond could be put to vote as early as June of this year, be delayed till November 2012 or November 2014. Although several residents took issue with the June and November 2012 dates -- citing lack of preparation time and over-saturation of issues during the presidential election, respectively -- others said increased interest rates and changes in the construction market will make the project less fiscally sound. SRVUSD emphasized that today's low interest rates and construction costs can help maximize bond funds.

The facilities bond would be the third such bond passed by San Ramon Valley voters in 14 years. Measure D, a $70 million bond from 1998, will be paid off in 2018 and the $260 million Measure A bond passed in 2002 should be paid off by 2027. The 2002 bond was augmented by over $90 million in state matching funds and over half a billion dollars in developer funds.

"As a result, we avoided year-round schools, maintained smaller class sizes, minimized serious overcrowding, avoided most student diversions and protected property values," Kenber said.

SRVUSD has experienced a 4 percent growth of its student population, or approximately 1,000 additional students a year, over the past six years. Kenber emphasized that the growth is not confined to the Dougherty Valley but includes new families replacing empty nesters in older areas. The district expects to house an average of 35,000 students over the next 20 to 25 years.

District officials and San Ramon High administrators gathered post-it notes with requests and questions from each break-out group, which called for a comprehensive list of projects for each school as well as more in-depth financial information, for compiling by a bond exploratory committee. The committee will provide its recommendation to the Board of Education, which will hold a special session on Feb. 14 to discuss next steps.

The board must legally take action to approve or deny the bond by March 9 if it wishes to approve the measure for the June 5 ballot.

Residents still have an opportunity to ask questions and voice their opinions at the final two community forums, held at Monte Vista on Feb. 2 and at Dougherty Valley on Feb. 8. Both forums begin at 7 p.m.

Comments

Posted by Say NO!, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 24, 2012 at 6:41 am

...Let me repeat..."Say NO!" Enough said!


Posted by George, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 24, 2012 at 7:19 am

"Somewhat supportive"?... Are you kidding? Dream on. I've spoken with numerous Alamo residents who were targets of the telephone survey regarding the bond issue. I also took the survey. The consensus of ALL I've spoken to regarding the potential bond is "over my dead body". Message to school district... Make do with what you have, just like the rest of us.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Danville
on Jan 24, 2012 at 7:55 am

There will NEVER be enough money for these people. Their appetites are insatiable.


Posted by Wise Owl, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 24, 2012 at 8:25 am

The only thing that is insatiable in this regard is the desire our kids have to get a great education, which they ARE getting in the SRVUSD. This is not the time to hit the brakes.


Posted by SRVHS Parent, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jan 24, 2012 at 8:28 am

Supportive? Somewhat? That means that we weren't enthusiastic about higher taxes. The only positive outcome of that meeting was that questions and comments OUTSIDE the 5 "setup" questions were allowed. This wasn't the case last Bond Meeting years ago, where ONLY THEIR questions could be addressed, and all other comments or questions were shut down.
Last night we learned that they want to CONTINUALLY dump money into facilities, and say "oh well" to personnel. Their argument is that if we pay for the bond, with higher taxes, they can use the general fund money (from the state) to pay for personnel, except that doesn't happen, and we have to pay FEES at registration. Why didn't that happen with the last 2 bonds...Oh yea, it wasn't enough money.
Class sections are continually cut, particularly from arts, music, athletics, but the school looks very nice.
Some great judgment by this group of "advisors" - - SRVHS, with a growing student population, our BOND MONEY pays for a SMALLER gym? Ooooo but it pretty.
Get some direction, then ask again.


Posted by Voter, a resident of Danville
on Jan 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

Mr. Enoch: How do you justify claiming recently there was a "surplus" of money, so you paid teachers for a day they did not even go to work, but yet now expect us parents to pay for yet another "parcel tax", when we are already paying for two parcel taxes? You then wasted our money by paying thousands of dollars to a "research" company, to see if there was support for your neverending demand for more taxes! You are clearly pandering to the teachers union, while treating us parents as though we are your personal ATM machine. Enough is enough. The recession has hit Danville hard, just like the rest of the world, and now is not the time to try to take advantage of us parents.


Posted by Sue, a resident of Danville
on Jan 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

This is insane. Just look at your tax bill & see how many bonds we are already paying for the school district. They don't even wait for one to expire before asking for another! Posting that it's projected to be "$20-$30 per $100,000" is deceitful. Why not use the average price of a house in the district when you make these assumptions? Then everyone would see the real impact to them! Yes, we have a highly rated school district. But continually throwing money at it is not the solution to improvements. SRVSD has never had its state funding factor changed to reflect its current status, i.e., non-agricultural area. So, administrators, until you do your job to obtain the correct state funding for the schools - keep your hands out of my wallet!


Posted by keith, a resident of Danville
on Jan 24, 2012 at 11:09 am

No school again last monday. They are out of school more then in school. A big NO to spending another dime on bond issues. Make the present money being spent more accountable. I see kids out of school more then in school with the rpesent district schedule of work days, conference days,,etc. Make the schools year round and then reconsider a bond issue after some accountability!.


Posted by Rand, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jan 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I encourage everyone to attend the upcoming meetings and voice your dissatisfaction with this pandering to the Teachers Union couched as facilities spending. Also take a look at your property tax bill. Count how many parcel taxes and bonds you're already paying!

* Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, Monte Vista High School (3131 Stone Valley Rd, Danville)

* Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, Dougherty Valley High School (10550 Albion Road, San Ramon)


Posted by SRVHS Parent, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jan 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Rand
The only problem with trying to voice dissatisfaction, is that isn't what they want to hear, and Enoch or the moderator will likely shut you down. They want "positive" discussion. and focus on these "special" "5-questions". These meetings are informative, but not necessarily in the way THEY think they are.


Posted by SRVHS Parent, a resident of Danville
on Jan 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Not gonna happen......a huge waste of $'s to even put it on the ballot. I can't get past how we built a gym too small for the existing student body...and the student population is growing?


Posted by SRVHS mom, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jan 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm

And don't forget the smaller gym at SRVHS was only built now because the prior gym was deemed unsafe because of construction defects. Typical mis managed construction by the district.


Posted by hmmm, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

.....excuse me....but what happened to the post by "Steve Enoch?" It has disappeared! Are you hiding something!!!!!!


Posted by Gayle Larson, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm

to hmmm.... I would guess that whoever posted as Steve Enoch was not actually Steve Enoch, hence the removal of the post.


Posted by Paul Ramone, a resident of Danville
on Jan 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm

They delete a bunch of posts including mine against the bond measure. Be aware that they are now censoring opposing views.


Posted by Just say "NO!", a resident of Diablo
on Jan 25, 2012 at 9:36 am

Other people's money (OPM)is a drug to public officials. As Nancy Reagan famously said, "JUST SAY NO!"


Posted by Local , a resident of John Baldwin Elementary School
on Jan 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I will support this bond as I support the school district. My children are getting a wonderful education and I support SRVUSD! I love my home, neighborhood and families where we live. I believe everyone's children deserve good schools, facilities, teachers, and administration. The animosity that is exchanged on these boards does nothing but tear down the community. Sad.....


Posted by Douglas, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jan 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Local

You really need to pull your head out from the sand. Do you not realize how much money they already get from us and constantly mismanage it? Throwing more money at them is NOT the solution. They could have spent the QSRB's they got from the state on these projects rather than putting them into that ludicrous solar project that we will never see any money back from, yet we will still owe on those bonds as well. Do some research BEFORE you write anything...


Posted by Jessica Lipsky, a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

The post by Steven Enoch was deleted at his request. It was correcting a misquote in the story, which has since been rectified.

After attending two of these forums, I'm quite surprised at the difference of opinion between attendees and commenter on this site. As Rand stated above, please attend the forums at Monte Vista and Doughtery Valley High next week to voice your opinion. The forums begin at 7 and are usually finished by 8:30 or 8:45 p.m.

Jessica Lipsky
Editor


Posted by Douglas, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jan 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Obviously attendees are being politically correct as outward appearances are so important to people in this area. Time will tell if the bond gets put up for a vote and it is voted down. Hopefully at that point, residents won't be PC and true feelings will be shown! Steven Enoch and the rest of them should be called to the carpet for their abuse of power and spending!!!


Posted by Maureen, a resident of Danville
on Jan 28, 2012 at 7:07 am

I am curious about the Windemere area and all of the high rise apartments being built there. If the brand new high school is already needing to be added on to, is it because of all of the renters moving in to that area? If so, are they paying for these bonds and new taxes or did the apartment complex developers get a waiver from the City? Can the editorial staff find out for us?


Posted by Me 2, a resident of Danville
on Jan 30, 2012 at 6:26 am

That is a very good question, Maureen... Are all the renters getting a free pass? I'd like to know, too.


Posted by gg, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jan 30, 2012 at 8:21 am

if you folks think renters are getting a free pass, think again.. do you really think owners have not figured taxes in to the rents? if you think that check the rental rates, some more than your house payment...
I am not a renter and have no rental property. but do have friends on both sides..sounds like more class warfare..


Posted by Sam, a resident of Danville
on Feb 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Douglas -

Plesae explain how solar panels that are generating electricity for use at the schools - and thereby reducing the schools' electricity bills - is "never see[ing] any money back from?"


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