Endorsement: ‘Yes’ on Measure G to rebuild our schools and community | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Endorsement: ‘Yes’ on Measure G to rebuild our schools and community

At first, we were a bit miffed when the Lake Tahoe Unified School District decided to put its $64.5 million bond measure, Measure G, on the November ballot. The decision was made just weeks after voters rejected the district’s $87 million bond measure, Measure A, on June 3. It seemed the district was disregarding the will of the voters. And after telling us they needed $87 million, why would $22.5 million less now suffice?

But on further reflection, we support Measure G for the same reasons we supported Measure A. The district’s schools are 35 to 59 years old and are badly in need of renovation.

As one of our staff members put it after viewing the high school facilities, “I’ve seen Third World schools better than that.” (And yes, he has traveled to Third World countries.)

Superintendent Jim Tarwater says that faced with the dire need, he’s prepared to keep coming back to voters until a bond measure succeeds. The alternative is to take money away from school programs to make repairs, he says.

And if voters approve the bond measure Nov. 4, the district still will be able to take advantage of $15 million in state matching funds.

In addition to paying for repairs such as the boiler at South Tahoe High School, the funds would be used to construct an Art, Media and Entertainment Academy at the high school – providing training in one of the fastest-growing industries in California. Another $6 million would fund a Green Academy at the high school, which would teach students about green automotive and construction technologies.

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Measure G would tax property owners $28.70 per $100,000 of assessed value over its 25- to 40-year life. That’s down from the $38.70 per $100,000 that was called for in Measure A.

Measure A gained majority support with 52 percent of the vote but fell short of the 55 percent approval needed to pass.

Some may regard schools as only a concern of family with children, but we disagree. In fact, if we hope to build our community, schools are a key piece of the foundation.

If schools are in poor condition, families will continue to move away.

But if schools are attractive and well-maintained – and the district continues to offer innovative programs as it has done with its Environmental Science Magnet School – the district should be able to slow or stop the loss of students, and likely be able to draw new families to the area.

Jobs will be created through the construction projects, and there’s even a possibility of partnering with new or existing businesses at the South Shore through the two new academies to help diversify our economy.

And as with Measure A, this bond measure comes with safeguards built in. An oversight committee will be appointed and how the money is spent will be closely monitored.

Now, it’s up to voters to decide: Sit back and watch the steady decline of the South Shore, or support Measure G and take a step to build our community’s future.

to see answers to the most-asked questions about the school bond, plus take a virtual tour of South Tahoe High School to view the condition of the facilities.