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Watsonville
July 17, 2024

Measure L funds nearly spent as 10-year anniversary nears

WATSONVILLE—In 2012, voters within the Pajaro Valley Unified School District approved Measure L, a $150 million bond that has funded construction and rehabilitation projects at nearly every facility in the district.

And, one decade after its passage, the bond is drawing to a close.

According to PVUSD Chief Business Officer Clint Rucker, the district has about $8.85 million left from Measure L, which he says has been allocated to a handful of remaining projects.

This includes repaving the parking lot at Bradley and Hall District elementary schools in the summer and a repaving and repainting project at Renaissance High School, in addition to finishing the multi-purpose room and new classrooms at Mintie White Elementary School.

The Measure L work is just a small measure of the work going on throughout the district. A recently completed charging station for a fleet of electric busses—funded through a grant—is slated to go into operation in August. 

The bond, which placed $38 per $100,000 of assessed value for homeowners within PVUSD, passed largely with the help of students from Pajaro Valley High School, whose school lacked a sports field from the time it opened in 2004. 

That project was completed in February 2021, using around $14 million of the school’s $18.4 million allocation. But the school still lacks a performing arts center. Moreover, the district still has a large list of problems that need attention, says PVUSD Board President Kim De Serpa.

In fact, De Serpa says, the trustees in 2012 cited a Facilities Needs Assessment, which listed $300 million in needed projects. But that number was cut in half after some trustees expressed concern that such a large number might not pass muster with voters. 

“We compromised for $150 (million) knowing it wasn’t enough to meet the basic needs of our aging infrastructure,” De Serpa said. 

At the outset of the bond, De Serpa said, district officials sat down with site councils from every school to gauge what their needs were. Many of those projects, she said, did not make it onto the Measure L list because the district had to first focus on safety issues such as new roofs.

But the district has not forgotten about those projects.

“We still have those items on the list and we hope if another school bond passes that we will be able to finish,” De Serpa said.

She praised the Measure L Oversight Committee, which has for the past decade kept an eye on the district’s use of the funds, and has found no irregularities.

Trustee Board Vice President Maria Orozco said that, by all accounts, the bond has been successful.

Meeting the district’s remaining needs, she added, will not be possible without a new bond.  

“It’s been very successful I think, and I think the community once they get to see all the projects that have been implemented because of Measure L they will be even more happy and probably will be willing to support a bond moving forward,” she said.

But determining when to turn to a public weary from the Covid-19 pandemic and wary about a moribund economy will not be easy. Voters are even less likely to approve tax measures during election years.

“There’s still people without jobs and a secure income, and I don’t think it’s the right time,” Orozco said.

PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez said that PVUSD has benefitted greatly from the community’s support of the measure.

“If PVUSD were to conduct another needs assessment, it would reveal opportunities to modernize and upgrade our facilities to ensure they are the most favorable learning environment for our students,” she said.

Todd Guild
Todd Guild
General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/

2 COMMENTS

  1. We need to adjust the percentage of property taxes collected to stay in our counties.
    As it stands, only a small perentage of the billions of property taxes collected stay in our county.
    i was dumfounded the first time I visited by kid’s school to see the deplorable state of condition.
    Silly me.
    Back then, i thought my hefty”county” property tax collected was for our county, not the state, where it gets sent and only a tiny portion returned…..
    Just like the plethora of taxes and fees collected on fuel and vehicles, most of the money is never put back into our roads and transportation infrastructure.

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