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June 19, 2014
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Tahoe-Truckee school board to vote on $176M in bond measures

TRUCKEE, Calif. — School officials are mulling whether to place a pair of tax measures on the November ballot to help finance campus upgrades.

The two general obligation bonds — one for $114 million for Truckee, the other at $62 million for lakeside schools — would go toward projects the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District says are needed at several locations, including repairing plumbing and bathrooms, constructing classrooms and updating technology to improve student learning.

“Ballot measures are nail-biters,” said Kirsten Livak, a TTUSD board member, at Wednesday’s board meeting. “I don’t think you can really get away from that aspect, and you’re asking for an incredible amount of money from your voting public.

“… It’s an inevitable fact when you drive by the campuses that you realize the money has to come from somewhere, and where is it going to come from? It’s certainly not coming from Sacramento.”

The school board is scheduled to vote next Wednesday on placing the measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The estimated tax rate for the $114M bond is $48.25 per $100,000 of assessed property value for fiscal year 2015-16. The other bond would carry an estimated $29.75 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Taxpayers would pay off the bonds over 33 years, said Todd Rivera, TTUSD manager of budget and payroll.

A June 4-12 survey found that 60 percent of 350 TTUSD registered voters polled (222 in Truckee, 128 at the lake) would initially vote in favor of their respective measure. The margin of error for Truckee results was plus/minus 6.6 percent; the lakeside margin was plus/minus 8.7 percent.

According to state law, the measures would need 55 percent voter support in the general election for adoption.

“This will definitely be a nail-biter,” said Richard Bernard, partner and senior vice president for Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin Metz & Associates, which conducted the survey. “You’re going to be up all night, sorry … if you chose to go forward.”

Charles Heath, a partner with San Francisco-based consulting firm TBWB Strategies, advised the board to pursue the bonds.

“I’m not in the kind of business where I can offer ironclad grantees,” he told the board. “That’s just not the nature of public opinion and how elections work, but based on the kind of numbers we’re seeing here, I think there’s a high probability of success, assuming that we place a measure on the ballot and there’s a community group that comes together and makes a good case for these bond measures.”

Trustees will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, in a special meeting at district offices at 11603 Donner Pass Road in Truckee. Learn more at ttusd.org.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 19, 2014 08:36PM Published Jun 24, 2014 11:52AM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.