Letter to the Editor: Vote ‘yes’ on Measure U
October 11, 2014
Parvin Darabi's letter, "Vote 'no' on Measure U," Sierra Sun, Oct. 8, contained some misleading statements. Darabi suggests that bond projects will take 33 years to complete. It would actually be a third of that. Any extensions could be because the district received matching state funds, but that's a positive for the community, and wouldn't affect taxpayers.
She also raised the "uncertainty" of estimated tax rates. Some historical perspective is needed. TTUSD passed bonds for building/improving all of the local schools, in almost every decade back to the 40s. There wasn't one in the 80s, but there were two successful efforts in the 90s ('92 and 99).
Here's why that's important:
First, that's how schools in California are built and improved. Not by parcel taxes, or other funding mechanisms, but by general obligation bonds. This may not be ideal but, for decades, this is how it's done.
That's why taxpayers see several "school" entries on their tax statement. This has been the case as far back as most of us remember. In my humble opinion the cost has never been too onerous. We have pretty good schools. We don't have Taj Mahals.
Schools must be upgraded/repaired on a regular basis. TTUSD asks taxpayers to step up because the costs for major repairs and improvements are far beyond any maintenance (or Developer Fee) dollars they get. For decades, the voters have stepped up.
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The District cannot afford to "poison the well." They are likely to be back in about 10 years, and understand how critical it is to keep the public trust, and be good stewards of the money they receive. That's why they are very conservative with the estimates, and always have been.
Voters can look back to the 1999 bonds to see this. The "estimated" tax rate then, was higher than the taxpayers ever actually paid, and it continued to decrease over the years.
That is typical of District bonds. TTUSD wouldn't say that, because they can't guarantee it. They need that trust noted above. Still, it's important for local voters to understand.