Guest View: Measure G an investment in the community’s future
October 26, 2008
As South Lake Tahoe businesspeople, we believe:
Our schools are the foundation of a healthy economy.
They prepare our students for college and the work force.
They are the foundation of strong neighborhoods and a vibrant community.
Our schools help attract and retain businesses in our community.
Our companies depend on South Tahoe High School students and graduates who have benefited from excellent public-school educations. Our students are our future work force, and they need our support.
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In order to maintain quality education in South Lake Tahoe, we must address the problems our local schools face: deteriorating buildings and educational obsolescence. Passing Lake Tahoe Unified School District’s bond – Measure G – on Nov. 4 will take us a long way toward solving these issues. As an added bonus, Measure G delivers $15.4 million in state bond funds to our community, funds that will help keep our economy afloat.
Improving schools is the single best way we can support our local economy and give kids the skills that our businesses need. By improving our schools, we also enhance the South Shore’s pursuit of new industry. For businesses and families, vibrant neighborhoods, good schools and spirit of community are major factors when evaluating relocation opportunities. Each of us has had potential employees, originally excited to bring their families to Tahoe (and to Tahoe’s schools) turn down jobs when they saw our school facilities. This can’t go on.
Bonds passed in 1992 and 1999 made significant improvements in facilities, addressing overcrowding, structural safety and systems improvements. Moreover, the district proved with those bonds that they can be trusted with the public’s money. But time has taken a toll on structures, like the portable classrooms not touched in past bonds. We must be good stewards and protect the investment we have made in our schools by making repairs before they become too expensive. Measure G will allow construction of new classrooms to replace aged portables as well as vocational classrooms at South Tahoe High. These new classrooms give our kids room to learn and develop skills – traditional, intellectual and technological – that employers need. It’s hard to learn in a classroom that’s too cold, unsafe or crowded. The longer we wait, the more our children’s education is adversely affected – and the more expensive it will be to make these improvements.
We care about kids having adequate facilities where they can focus on learning. Adequate means schools that have current computer and digital technology, up-to-date career technical programs, adequate libraries, quality physical-fitness facilities and clean, inviting classrooms.
As businesspeople, we watch the bottom line. That’s why members of the business community have been working with the district to ensure that checks and balances are in place to protect our investment. The bond measure includes an independent citizens oversight committee. This oversight guarantees that funds are used as voters intended. No tax is ever welcome, particularly in these economic times, but this one delivers value directly to our community and our children, and it will be locally controlled and monitored.
In addition to providing our students with the facilities they need and deserve, the bond will put tens of millions of dollars into the local economy and create jobs when we really need them. Over the life of the bond program, more than 1,000 construction-related jobs will be created. The multiplier effect creates an additional 1,500 jobs.
Up-to-date schools help retain and attract professionals and their families to our community. Whether to doctors or small-business owners, we want to swing our community’s doors open to attract resources important to our economy. Schools serve as a cornerstone for strong neighborhoods throughout our city, where people feel safe and property maintains its value. With housing once again affordable for families, we need a solid infrastructure to keep South Lake Tahoe a great place to live.
We ask for your support to keep our schools and community strong. It is the right investment for our kids and our economic future. Please vote “yes” for Measure G on Nov. 4. For more information, see http://www.BondMeasureG.org.
DeDe Bacon, president, South Tahoe Association of Realtors
Carl Ribaudo, president, SMG Marketing Group
John Rice, general manager, Sierra-at-Tahoe