Q. Why is Measure E necessary for our local high school?
A. Saratoga and Los Gatos high schools are sources of community pride. Students in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno and portions of the Santa Cruz mountains receive an excellent education in our local high schools, achieving significantly above the California standard for excellence on statewide tests. With a strong foundation in science, math and English, 99% of high school graduates go on to attend college and compete for 21st-century careers.
While the exteriors of our campuses look sound and attractive, the interior of our buildings, as well as the infrastructure and technology, require upgrades and safety repairs. Some of our classrooms have been updated for 21st-century learning, but many have not. Leaking roofs, old heating and cooling systems, and aging classrooms and science labs must be repaired and upgraded for a safe and modern learning environment. Our students require upgraded classroom technology to compete for today’s high-tech jobs. Measure E provides the necessary funds to complete these projects.
Q. How will Measure E funds be used to update our schools and continue student achievement?
A. Measure E will provide $99 million in locally controlled facilities upgrade funding to complete priority projects, including:
Making essential safety repairs to classrooms, labs and other school facilities to keep schools clean and well-maintained
Fixing leaky and aging roofs
Updating classrooms, science labs and educational technology for 21st-century learning
Preventing classroom overcrowding by adding classrooms to accommodate growing
Q. How can I be sure funds from Measure E will be spent wisely?
A. Measure E includes fiscal accountability provisions that protect taxpayers:
All funds go directly to our local high schools and cannot be taken away by the State
Measure E helps our schools qualify for state matching funds that would otherwise
not be available
A Citizens’ Oversight Committee and annual audits ensure all funds are spent in our high schools to repair and upgrade school facilities
No funds can be used for administrators’ salaries, pensions or benefits
Q. How much will Measure E cost me?
A. Measure E will cost local property owners no more than $18 per $100,000 of assessed property valuation annually. The Santa Clara County Assessor determines your home’s assessed value, which is often closer to the price you originally paid for your home than its current market value.
Q. Won’t this funding just be taken by the State?
A. No. All funds from a Measure E would benefit Los Gatos Saratoga Union School District schools and could not be taken away by the State.
Q. Is there any other way to upgrade and improve safety in our schools?
A. Our district has very few options when it comes to making the necessary renovations and upgrades to our local schools. We can’t rely on the state to complete these repairs. Measure E will provide the local control necessary to complete the prioritized projects to provide a safe and modern learning environment for our students.
Q. Would Measure E allow our district to qualify for state matching funds?
A. Yes. By passing Measure E, our district expects that it would qualify for state matching funds when they come available.
Q. Didn’t we just vote on a parcel tax measure for Los Gatos-Saratoga Union
High School District?
A. In 2011, 73% of local voters overwhelmingly approved Measure A, a parcel tax measure to support great academic programs and highly qualified teachers in Los Gatos and Saratoga high schools.
Measure E will only be used for our educational facilities and cannot be used for operating costs or programs. Bond measures, like Measure E, are the only funding mechanisms available to school districts to make capital improvements. There is no other source of revenue. In fact, without Measure E, our district is ineligible for state matching funds to make repairs to the schools. We need Measure E to provide the safe, modern classrooms and facilities that are central to a 21st-century high school education.
Q. I heard we passed a bond measure in the past, why do we need another one?
A. In 1998, 80.2% of voters in Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District approved Measure B, a local school bond measure to initiate repairs and improvements to Los Gatos and Saratoga high schools. An independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee verified that all bond funds were spend according to voter-approved projects. By leveraging state matching funds and local community contributions, many projects were completed on both campuses, including:
Measure B Los Gatos High School Projects
- Seismic upgrades to reduce dangers from earthquakes
- Essential repairs to restroom facilities and classrooms
- Upgrades to outdated ventilation systems in school buildings
- Construction of a new science lab building
Measure B Saratoga High School Projects
- Seismic upgrades to reduce dangers from earthquakes
- Basic repairs to many classrooms
- Renovation of the high school library and science labs
- Provided $3.3 million in funding for the performing arts center (an additional $5.5 million was raised though 1,200 community donors)
Two decades after the passage of Measure B, many of the classrooms and school facilities that were not in need of repair in 1998 have aged. While some classrooms and facilities were updated, others now need repairs and upgrades. Measure E would give all students access to modern educational facilities. Additionally, due to our rapidly changing, high tech and competitive economy, Measure E is necessary to meet our schools’ new educational technology and science lab needs.
Q. What is the difference between a parcel tax and a bond measure?
A. A bond measure and parcel tax measure are used for different purposes—a bond measure can only fund facility upgrades and improvements, and cannot be used for operating costs or programs. A parcel tax may be used for teachers and programs.
Q. I don’t have children in school; how would Measure E benefit me?
A. We know our high schools are among the best in California, making our community a desirable place to live. This helps keep our property values high and our neighborhoods strong.
Q. How is education changing in the 21st century? Do LGSUHSD students have access to the tools necessary to compete?
A. As the state and nation are implementing new, rigorous standards of evaluating student academic performance, LGSUHSD is consistently striving to improve education for all of our students, focusing on the ever-evolving best practices in the educational field. The district aims to meet these new state standards by implementing new instructional techniques, and updated learning technology will be required for students to take new standardized tests in reading, writing, math, science and social studies that we will need to administer by spring 2014. Measure E will help us provide the safe, modern classrooms and facilities that are central to a 21st-century high school education and equip our students with the required educational foundation and technological skills to continue to compete in a global economy.
Q. Didn’t we just pass Prop 30 to help fund local schools?
A. Last November, California voters approved Proposition 30. The passage of Proposition 30 has helped to prevent additional cuts to our local schools, but it does not provide new revenue or provide the funding we need to update our schools. Proposition 30 was only intended to help prevent further state cuts to education. We must rely on locally controlled funding like Measure E to complete important updates to our classrooms.
Q. Which projects will be completed at my school?
A. It is the intention of the Board to ensure that proceeds from Measure E would benefit both our high schools in the District equitably. Our school Board worked with principals, parents and staff to determine the needs at each of our high schools and develop a through Facilities Master Plan. To view the completed Facilities Master Plan, please visit lgsuhsd.org and click on “Facilities” under the “District Information” tab.
In addition, the district has asked community members, parents to come together and form a design team that will help determine the priority of projects at each site.
Q. Is there a senior exemption?
A. By law, the district cannot offer a senior exemption for a school repair bond measure like Measure E. However, the cost of Measure E, which is based on the assessed value of a person’s property, is different from market value. The assessed value is based on the price of the home when it was purchased—so seniors who have owned their homes for a long time pay substantially less than their newer neighbors with children in school.
Q. What level of support is required to pass Measure E?
A. At least 55% of those voters who cast a ballot on the measure must vote “Yes” in order for Measure E to be approved.
Q. When will Measure E be on the ballot?
A. Measure E will be on the June 3, 2014 ballot. If you are an absentee voter, your ballot will be mailed to you the week of May 5th.
Q. Who is eligible to vote on Measure E?
A. All registered voters in Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District will be eligible to vote in the election. You must register by May 19, 2014 to vote in this election.
Q. How can I get more information about voting in this election or registering to vote?
A. For information on voter registration, please visit registertovote.ca.gov or call the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters at (408) 299-8683.