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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
San Mateo County, CA November 8, 2005 Election
Measure A
Community College Bond
San Mateo County Community College District

Bond Measure - 55% Approval Required

Pass: 114,319 / 64.2% Yes votes ...... 63,802 / 35.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 30 9:53am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (471/471)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To prepare College of San Mateo, Canada College, and Skyline College students for universities and high demand jobs: upgrade nursing, health career, science, computer, and biotechnology labs; improve accessibility for disabled students; make earthquake safety improvements; repair/modernize libraries, classrooms, and aging facilities; and other projects in the Bond Projects List, shall San Mateo Community College District be authorized to issue $468,000,000 bonds at interest rates within legal limits and with oversight by a Citizens' Advisory Committee?

Impartial Analysis
Education Code section 15100 authorizes a school district to issue bonds for specified purposes. However, the voters must first approve the issuance of the bonds at an election. Education Code section 15266 provides the measure passes if 55% of those voting on the measure vote for the measure. Certain accountability requirements must be included in the measure.

The Board of Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District has proposed this measure which would authorize the District to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $468 million. The bonds will have an interest rate not exceeding the legal maximum.

Article XIIIA, Section 1 (b)(3)(B) of the California Constitution requires that the District list the specific school facilities projects to be funded from the bond revenue and certify that the Board has evaluated safety, class size reduction, and information technology needs in the development of that list. The District's "Bond Project List" for the proposed bond is attached to the full text of the measure and can be generally described as follows: projects to repair, renovate, upgrade and construct college facilities, install security access and communications, modify and renovate handicapped accessibility, and replace or purchase technology and equipment.

The measure requires the District to take certain steps to account for the proceeds from the sale of the bonds as set forth in Article XIIIA, Section 1(b)(3) of the California Constitution and Education Code sections 15272 et seq. The District must appoint a citizens' oversight committee and conduct annual independent performance and financial audits to assure that funds are spent only on the listed school and classroom improvements and for no other purposes.

A "yes" vote on this measure would authorize San Mateo County Community College District to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $468 million to perform projects to repair, renovate, upgrade and construct college facilities, as specified in the Bond Project List.

A "no" vote would preclude San Mateo County Community College District from issuing bonds of up to $468 million. This measure passes if 55% of those voting on the measure vote "yes."

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Arguments For Measure A Arguments Against Measure A
College of San Mateo, Caņada College and Skyline College annually provide 40,000 San Mateo County students an excellent education and one of the best educational bargains in the Bay Area. Students transfer to fouryear universities or receive essential workforce training for careers in nursing, healthcare, technology, and biotechnology industries, and as firefighters or police officers.

The District completed the first phase of renovation and construction addressing the most urgent health and safety issues presented by aging facilitiescompleted ontime and onbudget.

The County Grand Jury's 20042005 report applauded our colleges' construction management program, calling it a "model" that school districts should follow. But, the fact remains that most buildings on the three campuses are 40 years old and in need of extensive repair.

A YES vote on Measure A will complete the job of modernizing all existing college facilities, including:

· Updating nursing and healthcare training labs

· Modernizing science, engineering and computer labs and classrooms

· Building firefighter and police training facilities

· Improving handicapped accessibility

· Completing seismic retrofits

· Providing training centers for 21 st century jobs

· Modernizing campus libraries

· Removing hazardous materials including asbestos

· Completing energy efficiency projects

For less than $4.35 a month for the average San Mateo County homeowner, the cost of renting a movie, we can provide modern classrooms and laboratories for the next generation of college students. Measure A is fully tax deductible. A Citizens' Oversight Committee of business people and accountants will oversee expenditures. Performance and financial audits will be conducted and publicized. No funds will be used for faculty or administrative salaries.

Measure A is an investment in our future. It will enhance property values and our quality of life. Business owners, educators, law enforcement, firefighters, nurses, labor, homeowners and community groups urge YES on Measure A.

Would you vote for a Hurricane?

This measure would inflict damage on the private sector economy totaling over one billion dollars!

Bond costs--$468 million principal + $585 million interest (estimated at 5%)--ultimately would be paid for by San Mateo County's 250,000 households, for an average economic burden of $4000 per household.

Home and business owners would pay the taxes, but their loss of spending power would hurt everyone else--especially in sectors supported by disposable income, like air travel, personal and business services, and small business generally.

We estimate a sustained private sector job loss approaching 500 jobs (averaged over 25 years).

On the other side of the coin, growth in public sector employment (including contractors) would be less than half that, because most of our taxes would go to interest payments--not spending on facilities or employees.

A lucky few would get the new jobs and contracts--particularly those with connections to the county's power elite pushing this tax. The rest of us would get the bill.

Overbuilt and Overextended

Three campuses are convenient, but the system has been overbuilt since Caņada and Skyline were added.

Gross enrollment peaked in 1981, falling 25% since that time. Today the colleges enroll only about 20,000 fulltime equivalent students.

As recently as 2001, the District carried no debt. Fueled by "easy money" from Prop 39, however, the trustees borrowed $207 million and began a construction spending spree that hasn't stopped.

Debt per student was $0. Now it is $10,000. This bond would increase the debt to $33,000 per student.

Is that the legacy we wish to leave to our children?

The undersigned proponent(s) or author(s) of the primary argument against Ballot Measure A at the Consolidated Special Statewide Election for the San Mateo County Community College District to be held on November 8, 2005, hereby state that such argument is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.

Signed Date

John J. Hickey Chair, Libertarian Party of San Mateo County 8/18/05

Margret Buckley Schmidt Parent 8/18/05

Laura Oliphant Parent 8/18/05

Bill Henderson Taxpayer 8/18/05

Brian Perry Parent 8/18/05

Christopher VA Schmidt Retired Computer Professional 8/18/05

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Created: January 28, 2006 14:46 PST
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