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Impartial analysis of Measure W

Dana McRae, County Counsel, County of Santa Cruz

Measure W would authorize issuance of $698,000,000 in bonds to fund educational facilities projects in the West Valley-Mission Community College District (District).  Such bonds are financial instruments used by districts to borrow money that is repaid by a property tax levy.  California law allows community college districts to propose bond measures to authorize the issuance of bonds.  To pass, the Measure must be approved by 55 percent of voters who vote in the election.  The Measure was put on the ballot by the Board of Trustees (Board) of the District.

Money generated by the bonds can only be used for the purposes that are set out in the full text of the Measure.  The Measure says that the money could be used for the following purposes, among others:

  • Upgrading and updating school facilities, including classrooms and labs;
  • Repairing or replacing aging buildings; and
  • Repairing or replacing roofs, cooling, plumbing, water, sewer, and electrical systems.

A complete list of projects and allowed expenditures is included within the full text of the Measure.  The Board has certified that it has evaluated safety, class size, and information technology needs in developing its project list.

Under the California Constitution, money generated by community college bond measures cannot be used for teacher and administrator salaries or pensions, or other operating expenses.  The California Constitution requires the District to hire an independent professional to annually examine how the District is spending bond money.  State law also requires the District to establish an independent citizens’ oversight committee to ensure that money generated by the bonds is used only for the projects included in the Measure.

The bonds will be repaid from taxes collected on property in the District.  The amount of the tax paid will depend on the assessed value of the property.  The District’s best estimate of the highest tax rate to be collected to repay the bonds is $13.00 per $100,000 of the assessed value of the property.  The District’s best estimate of the total amount, including interest, that will be required to repay the bonds is $1,287,907,440.  The District estimates that the final year that taxes will be collected to repay the bonds is fiscal year 2049-2050.

A “yes” vote is a vote to authorize the issuance of the bonds in the amount of $698,000,000 to be repaid by collection of taxes on property located within the District.

A “no” vote is a vote to not authorize the issuance of the bonds.