Time is right for school improvement bond | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Time is right for school improvement bond

John Upton, Measure C campaign coordinator and former El Dorado County supervisor, said the time is perfect for a school bond in South Lake Tahoe. That’s why on Tuesday, just hours before the polls close, he’ll be on the phone making a last-ditch effort to urge people to get out and vote.

“We’ve got a period of low inflation, low interest rates, and all of our schools are over 26 years old,” he said. “If people want to see our school facilities improve, now is the time.”

But, ultimately, that’s for the voters in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District to decide.

Measure C, a $17 million bond that would allocate funds for improvements and additions to all schools in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, will go before the voters in a special election on Tuesday.

Some voters have already cast their ballots.

“We’ve sent out about 2,400 absentee ballots and have gotten about 1,450 back,” said El Dorado County Registrar of Voters Michelle MacIntyre. “That’s about 59 percent.”

She said she was hoping for more.

“We’re worried that people will forget to vote because this is the only issue on the ballot,” she said.

For the 1,000 or so people who have not mailed in their absentee ballots, MacIntyre suggests taking it to any polling place on Tuesday by 8 p.m., when the polls close.

If passed, the measure would also allow the school district to apply for an additional $10 million of state funds. The grand total of $27 million can be used only for facility improvements, not for salary increases.

Anita Vieites, a school teacher in the district for nearly 40 years, said the improvements are badly needed.

“We’ve had problems with roofs in the past and recently we’ve had busted pipes in the math wing at the high school which caused water damage,” she said. “It’s time to get in there and do something more than just maintenance.”

So far, the measure has received considerable support.

South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, South Lake Tahoe Board of Realtors, South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association and the Lake Tahoe Community College Board of Trustees have endorsed the measure.

Lake Tahoe Community College President Guy Lease said even adults have a stake in Measure C.

“We use school district classrooms and the quality of those classrooms directly affects our programs,” Lease said. “We’re very supportive of Measure C.”

Local contractors could also benefit if Measure C passes, according to Steve Morales, LTUSD facilities director.

“I encourage local general contractors and especially subcontractors to request bid forms,” he said. “If it passes, we expect to be out to bid by May 6.”

El Dorado County Voter of Registrars said that the count won’t be in until late Tuesday night after the ballots have been collected from the various polling locations and taken to Placerville. Two-thirds of the ballots cast in favor of Measure C is needed to pass the measure.

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