Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian file.

If Pajaro Valley Unified School District performed all the upgrades, repairs and construction projects that are needed at its 33 schools, it would cost more than $1.2 billion.

A large part of that estimate is $400 million to replace the district’s array of portable classrooms 

That’s according to a report by 19-6 Architects, a consultancy firm hired by the district to perform a needs assessment survey.

While that number is vastly out of reach, PVUSD officials are looking to prioritize the more urgent projects, and pay for them with a general obligation bond.

Toward that goal, the PVUSD Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a $315 million bond to be placed on the ballot for the November presidential election, when it will require a two-thirds majority vote.

The motion passed 6-0, with Trustee Oscar Soto absent.

If the bond passes muster at the voting booth, it would place $60 per $100,000 of assessed value on properties within the district. That number would drop to $30 per $100,000 after four years, said financial advisor Dale Scott, who also helped prepare the report.

Voters in 2012 approved Measure L, a $150 million bond which, after funding projects throughout the district, is coming to the end of its life, with most of the money spent. 

That bond has allowed for numerous projects such as the long-awaited sports complex at Pajaro Valley High School.

People living within the boundaries of PVUSD are still paying off that measure, in addition to Measure J, a $58.2 million bond from 2002.

If the new bond passes, voters would be paying $120 per $100,000 of assessed value on their annual property tax bills, Scott said, which would continue to decline as the bonds are paid.

The additional property tax will be in addition to Measure N, which voters passed in March to fund upgrades at Watsonville Community Hospital. That measure places $24 per $100,000 of assessed value on properties in Pajaro Valley Health Care District. 

Trustee Jen Holm said that the need within the vast district requires drastic action.

“Given the scope of our needs, I don’t see how we can ask for less,” she said. “We’re already asking for less than we need.”

Trustee Kim De Serpa said that she wants to prioritize projects at Pajaro Valley High School, most notably a performing arts center, which was promised under Measure L but was not delivered after construction costs increased.

“I want to make sure that those projects get done first if this bond passes,” she said 

The trustees had three bond options to choose from in addition to the $350 million–one for $195 million and another for $295 million.

Trustee Daniel Dodge, Jr., who made the motion to support the larger amount, said he wants to make sure the projects promised under the previous measure are delivered.

He also stressed the need for teacher housing.

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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/


  1. Californians love their taxes….. with the hospital tax and now this school tax the people of watsonville are getting screwed big time. I’m glad my husband took us away from here and we live in freedom not paying state taxes anymore. CA is just getting worse by the minute.

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    • It’s great to watch from afar. My tenants are very upset because I have to pass these surcharges on to them in the form of rent increases. Watsonville schools are failing Watsonville hospitals are failing but they do have a new mural downtown

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    • I don’t agree with the proposed tax increase, but California is a great state to live in. My family immigrated from Quebec in 1856 and we’ve lived here ever since. My ancestors became citizens 7 years after legally immigrating and also learned to language. Calif is the best state ever and anyone can come here or leave here. I love having Democrats govern and they protect women’s rights unlike red states.

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  2. Another tax on the back of homeowners, along with the central fire bond on the same vote?
    Central Fire wants a $30/$100,000 tax, plus this $60/$100,000 assessment would mean a potenial $900 a year additional property tax if you bought your home in the last few years…
    Good luck with that.
    Cabrillo might as well throw it’s hat into the ring too, after failing their last 2 bond issues….
    Many of us who work in the education system see the poor financial management we work under.

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  3. I’m a big NO on this issue. PGE rates have doubled, our property taxes are again being jacked up with the hospital bond, and PVUSD, with fewer students, wants more money. Seniors on SS can’t afford another tax increase. PGE has doubled our rates while we use even less power and gas. Water rates are high also. Seniors 65+ should be excused from paying higher property taxes.
    PVUSD never did document what they used the 150 Million they got in the last tax increase that was passed. The 515 million extorsion they want from us needs to be documented as to where every cent is going to go before it is approved to go on ballot.

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  4. Can we at least consider a parcel tax as opposed to the assessed evaluation method.
    That way each parcel is taxed evenly.
    I too am concerned about the growing number of proposed bonds.

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  5. The district needs to provide a detailed budget. Based on the number of campuses this is close to $10 million per campus. Everyone will pay for increased property taxes, renters and homeowners. PVUSD administrators appear out of touch with housing affordability. My property taxes already exceed my social security income.

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  6. Budgets relying on public funding should be required to set aside funds each fiscal year for future needs. If I know my roof has a 20 year life span, I will budget for its replacement over time rather than take out a 2nd mortgage to pay for it. Borrowing the money grossly increases the actual cost of the improvements, whether its portable classrooms or site improvements. Floating bonds for known expenses is a con game with taxpayers.

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    • Just how many schools including charter schools is PVUSD supporting. Do charter schools accept any and all students? They should since our tax dollars are paying for them. What is class size in charter schools versus regular public schools? Since our tax money is being used to pay for charter schools, all class size should be the same for charter and public. There are portable school buildings not being used for classes located at EA Hall. Take them out and send them to the schools that need them. One of the buildings is being used to house the free food businesses. These aren’t PVUSD related, and they need to find their own location rather than using publicly funded school buildings.

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