Sunol Glen Unified School District has returned to the ballot proposing a $10.9 million bond to pay for a range of construction upgrades to the K-8 campus on Main Street in Sunol, including safety improvements and better accessibility; roof, electrical, plumbing and HVAC repairs; cafeteria modernization; and a STEM lab for students.
Measure J calls for a tax rate of $52.10 per $100,000 of assessed valuation of properties within the SGUSD boundaries to cover the resulting bond debt. (We can't help but snicker, though, at the district absurdly using "5.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation" in their ballot language; they should have been more upfront in framing the rate based around actual property values.)
This seeks to be the first bond measure for Sunol since 1999, the tax from which is beginning to wind down. SGUSD did try to pass $9.5 million Measure O in March 2020, but it failed to clear the 55% threshold with 50.56% Yes, 49.44% No -- an even narrower margin when comparing the actual vote count of 227 to 222.
District leaders and stakeholders think they've found the solution to pass their bond this time around: take out the high-dollar multipurpose room proposed in 2020 in favor of comprehensive infrastructure improvements and STEM facilities in 2022.
The need is clear if you visit the 97-year-old campus in Sunol. Many maintenance projects are decades behind because of a lack of funding, and those detrimental conditions will only worsen from here.
Students and staff in SGUSD, and really the Sunol community at-large, deserve for their school facilities to be brought into the 21st century. All of the work outlined in the ballot statement and resolution are critical projects that will tangibly enhance the academic experience at the campus.
And as you've heard us say over and over in recent election cycles: A local bond measure is the only concrete way districts can ensure their facilities projects get funded and come to fruition.
We are not swayed by the anti-Measure J arguments put forth by the Alameda County Libertarian Party, which contend the district's project list is too vague. Ironically the group relies on primarily vague platitudes as the basis for those criticisms in the Sunol arguments -- similar talking points we've seen from them in opposition statements for other school bond measures.
They also question whether all of the projects would justifiably add up to $10 million-plus. We can't help but wonder if they're aware of how much deferred school maintenance projects cost for supplies and labor in 2022, not to mention the cafeteria and tech lab aspects.
Vote Yes on Measure J to better modernize Sunol Glen School, finally.