Measure C – 10 questions you should have the answers to before voting

1. Why does it seem that most people agree that a parcel tax would better serve our children but we are pursuing a bond instead?

2. If the bond brings in $348 million to the district why does it cost taxpayers $1.87 BILLION?

3. If this bond passes what exactly will I see at my local school that will lessen the impact from the most recent cuts and cuts still to come?

4. Can the direct proceeds from this bond go toward the general fund to save programs and teachers or are the funds restricted to costs associated with facilities and equipment?

5. The literature says the bond rate I approved in 2002 won’t increase but will my tax bill increase?

6. I hear the solar project will be up in 18 months, doesn’t that mean we will still have to deal with the current budget cycle, the next budget cycle and halfway through the 2011-12 cycle before we see the estimated $3mil in relief from energy costs?  How does that help us now?

7. I understand there are costs associated with the solar project but have not seen any information about maintenance, repairs, replacement, insurance, security, or administration?  What are the costs? Is there a feasibility study outlining the revenues, costs, and timeline?

8. What does the district mean when they say “provide safe places for supervised after-school activities like athletics and fine arts that help keep kids on the right track?” Does this mean new fields, aquatic centers, theaters, etc… because I don’t see those things on the list?

9. Why can so many other school districts including Oakland, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, Matinez, San Ramon, and West Contra Costa County pass a parcel tax, even with the 2/3 requirement, and we can’t?

10. I have been told that our community really needs a parcel tax to be competitive with surrounding districts, will people be leary of voting for a parcel tax in the near future if they approve this bond measure now?

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13 thoughts on “Measure C – 10 questions you should have the answers to before voting

  1. A friend didn’t understand that this bond will be added to her property tax. She thought it came out of the school district’s general fund. She finally looked at her property tax bill and saw how much $$$ she’s already paying for school bonds. At my house, the property tax increase will mean less food for my family.

    Voters need more information, including basic information, about this bond!

  2. It is not possible that you are a voice for education. You are clearly opposed to the bond that will serve students. My guess is that you have a political motivation (you or one of your friends is planning to run for the board).

    1. Because most people are uninformed, like you. The bond will provide general fund relief greater than the parcel tax would have – and it provides facilities money for the district.
    2. Because the district is sensitive to the current economic crisis and felt is was appropriate keep the tax rate at less than 50% of what it would have been under a new bond (vs. an extension).
    3. The bond will generate $1.4 million in annual savings by paying off existing debt (COPs). It will also generate over $6 million in annual energy savings and rebates (cash) from solar installation (rebates are for 5 years).
    4. Not directly, but through the solar installation and the debt savings, more general fund relief will be created than if the parcel tax had passed.
    5. Voters approved a tax rate of $60 per $100,000 of assessed value. This approved tax rate won’t go up. Due to the fact that the district has been very responsible with the former bond, property owners are paying almost 1/3 less than the $60. After the bond passes, and the bonds are sold, property owners will be paying a total of approximately $60. If the district were to issue a new bond, tax payers would be paying the old amount, plus a new $60 per $100,000, far more than they will pay per year under this approach.
    6. As a starting point, what is the alternative? The district tried to pass a parcel tax and could not. Should the district wait and do nothing? How does that get money to the district any faster? Second, the district will see an estimated $4,000,000 in rebates and savings in the 10-11 school year if they immediately start construction.
    7. School solar projects are not new. There is a huge amount of information regarding the costs and the realities available. These are proven projects. Your questions assume that they are not. There are multiple ways to fund these costs. They can be built into the construction costs or they can be paid on an ongoing basis. The savings and value are real.
    8. The district will fund these items. They are part of the educational program.
    9. The answer to this question will be mostly speculation. The district has not tried to pass a parcel tax in the past 20 years except for the one that failed last May. Other districts have understood the importance of informing the community of their needs. This district has not done that until recently. The right moves are being made now that there is new leadership.
    10. The district does need more money. Because the bond will provide greater general fund relief than the parcel tax would have, it is a good substitute. The parcel tax was only for 5 years. The rebates are for 5 years, but the actual savings (more than $3 mil per year and growing) will continue for 25 years. With either a parcel tax or the bond, the district will need more support in the future. Also, if the bond fails, its impact on a future parcel tax is probably no different than if it passes.

    With these answers, it is probably pretty clear how loaded your questions are. The bond IS the right answer.

  3. Anon 9:45

    It would be very helpful if we as taxpayers could get the financial analys behind your numbers or tell us who we can contact at the district to get that information.

    ” It will also generate over $6 million in annual energy savings and rebates (cash) from solar installation (rebates are for 5 years).”

    As with the bond, the district is telling us what revenue will be generated but not what it will cost. I am intersted in the total savings, total cost of installation, maintenance, insurance and finally what it will end up costing taxpayers to decide whether or not to support the bond.

    thanks!

  4. Anon 9:45
    Let me assure you that I am completely concerned about the kids in this district. I have NO interest in politics, in fact it is the politics that I find so difficult when it comes to advocating for our children’s education. In addition, I do not know of a single candidate running.
    I will however advocate for and support a candidate who chooses to run on a platform of good fiscal responsibility, strategic planning to improve the quality of education, and a promise of clear, honest, and regular communication. I hope someone will step forward to do so.
    The questions I posed are fair and should be asked and answered by our district leadership in writing and posted on the district web site.

  5. The more than $6 million is net to the general fund (actual impact). I would suspect you know who to contact, but if you want to learn more about solar, contact Paul Strange.

  6. Really, how much money the bond will or will not generate is almost moot because we continue not to have any control over how carefully these funds will be spent:

    1) Can we choose the contractor based on lowest bid and best quality of work? Doesn’t look like it.

    2) Can we get rid of bad teachers…. ever?

    3) Will the funds made available to the District just get eaten up in teachers’ salaries? (I know many *say* teachers are underpaid, but $75K a year to work for only eight months teaching 2nd grade, plus taxpayer-backed benefits, really don’t seem like hardships in light of our current economy.)

    But yes, the taxpayers will be on the hook to pay back about $2.2 Billion to borrow $350 Million under the most optimal scenario. Payments will continue long after the solar panels have stopped working, and after we’re all dead and gone. (2052, again in best-case analysis.) Basically, we’ll be handing much of the bill to our grandkids, literally.

    Check out Daniel Borenstein’s analysis based on the District’s pie-in-the-sky figures:

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_14992231?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com

    Let’s insist on vouchers. Wouldn’t real choice be great?

  7. San Ramon is a joke. In the first 16 years they help their general fund to the tune of $2.3 million, total. In the same time, MDUSD will help it’s general fund to the tune of $70 million. To even compare to San Ramon is silly. The benefit to students in SRV on an annual basis is so nominal as to be laughable. In MDUSD it is real and meaningful. It makes no sense that you would support SRV and not MDUSD, or even use them as an example.

  8. I take offense at Anon’s reply on 5/16 at 9:45 addressing the ’10 Q’s you should have answers to’ telling a previous poster, “It is not possible that you are a voice for education. You are clearly opposed to the bond that will serve students.” Just because I oppose Measure C does NOT mean I am against education. My children are just getting started in elementary school so I have a vested interest in this topic-for many years to come. Though I understand the District is financially strapped, Measure C is not the answer, though proponents might have you believe it’s the ONLY answer.

    That said, I’m reading as much as I can on this topic and have so many questions that don’t seem to be addressed, If anyone can point the answers out to me, thank you!

    1) I see the proposed project list for each school but I don’t see any numbers assigned for the projects. They must have some number in mind for each project to see if it can be included in the overall budgeting of the Measure C funds.

    2) What is the allocation of funds on a per school basis. It may not be an equal distribution among schools, however I want to see how the funds will be distributed among the District.

    3) When will the funds will be available?

    4) When will the projects begin?

    5) What happens if the state matching funds don’t come through as planned-how does that affect the rollout of projects?

    As I stated earlier, I’m just getting familiar with all the info, pro & con for Measure C so any answers are greatly appreciated.

  9. Anon 12:03 p.m.

    My question was not about asking you to compare San Ramon’s solar program to the the one that you are planning for MDUSD.

    The two page Q&A is an example of the type of information that I would like to see you prepare for the members of this community. Why? In order to inform and educate us about your solar and your plans. It is time that they move from numbers in your head onto the page. This will help broaden the discussion and strart to answer, not just my questions, but those of many other parents and community members.

    Does something like that exist? It is a simple question. Please don’t throw out a bunch of numbers in response to my question. It is not what I am looking for.

  10. Yah, and San Ramon’s district is such a “joke?” Yet it far exceeds MDUSD in every measurable way. Yah yah, demographics, but don’t treat us like we’re stupid, provide us information like what SRV provided and maybe we’d “get it.” In fact, if you go with the demographics thing and that “concord” can’t get it’s act together, then answer this… if SRV has smarter demographics, and a more educated demographic, and a more money demographic, how in the world did SRVUSD “DUPE” all those smart people into voting yes for what you are insinuating is a “joke?” uhhh, how about information? It’s in the details, yup, the devils in the details and that’s what I’d like to get.. .the info.. details… the scoop… the knowledge I need to make an informed decision. Until I have that, I’ve decided I will vote no. Make NO MISTAKE. I will work my ASS off as I have in the past for the passage of a PARCEL TAX which is what you jokers should’ve gone for in the first place! Big mistake, that’s going to backfire.

    The new argument that the public will never vote for a tax or measure on the “third time around” is just a scare tactic. All we’ll need is a mea culpa and we’ll rally. Promise.

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