Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Measure GG: For our schools


Last updated 11/2/2018 at 10:49am

As Superintendent of the Borrego Springs Unified School District, I am writing to inform you about an extremely important proposition on the upcoming November ballot –Measure GG. Measure GG will provide the school district with much needed assistance to renovate and improve its facilities.

I want to start by stating that Borrego has wonderful schools. We have humble, personable, intelligent, and hard-working students. Our teachers and staff go above and beyond serving our community’s children. Our mission is to provide every single student a diverse and academically rich education.

Our vision is to produce graduates who have their own visions for the future, armed with strong values and the tools for success in college, career, family and community life. Having clean, safe, updated facilities will assist us in accomplishing this vision. Prior to coming to Borrego, I worked for the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Despite being in a very wealthy neighborhood, they also had old facilities that needed repairs. I can still visualize the enormous tarp covering one of the buildings that had a leaky roof. To solve this problem they passed a $334 million bond. This is not an extreme example. There are over 100 school bond measures on the November ballot, from San Diego’s $3.5 billion to our own $8.6 million proposal. So why do districts need to pass bond measures in order to build or renovate facilities?

The answer is simple. School districts at their very nature are meant to be locally funded. Prior to the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, school boards actually had the authority to levy taxes on the local community.

Prop 13 changed all that and set a uniform 1% property tax that was collected and funneled through the state and back to all districts, in a more or less equal way. This funding combines with personal income taxes and other sources from CA’s general fund to meet the operational needs of our schools.

It does not, however, provide for building, renovating, or improving facilities. That responsibility is still left to the local community in which each school resides.

So how does this bond affect us? This question also has a fairly simple answer. Passing the measure will allow the district to sell bonds. Once sold, property taxes in Borrego will increase at a maximum level of $60 per year per $100,000 of your home’s assessed value. For example, if your house is assessed at $100,000, your tax bill for the bond for that year would be $60, or approximately $5 per month. The length of the repayment is similar to a home loan, typically 25 – 30 years.

I would encourage you if you have any questions related to this measure, to contact me at the district office.

Our facilities, though well-maintained, need to be renovated. Project lists include: Completely modernizing classrooms, replacing old relocatables, upgrading electrical, water and sewer lines, and providing more safety and security measures.

We are also looking to improve our schools by adding Solar and other cost-saving, eco-friendly measures. 100% of the funds generated by the bond will be accounted for and overseen by a local citizens’ oversight committee. Most important of all is that our students have safe, clean, and effective facilities.

Mark Stevens

Borrego Springs Unified School District Superintendent

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