‘Sad day’ for district children; School bond proposal falls short of required two-thirds majority | SierraSun.com
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‘Sad day’ for district children; School bond proposal falls short of required two-thirds majority

SHERRY MAYS, Sierra Sun

Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District Superintendent Vince Deveney said children are the losers with Measure B’s defeat.

“This is a sad day for children,” he said.

The Measure B – “Building Better Schools” – school bond was narrowly defeated Tuesday by a margin of less than 3 percent. In Placer County the measure passed with 68.3 percent, but in Nevada County the measure was foiled with only 62.06 percent of the voters in favor.

With Proposition 218, the law requiring a two-thirds majority vote in elections affecting local taxation, a straight majority was not enough to pass the bond that would have enabled the district to build a new middle school and upgrade other facilities to slow school overcrowding.

Disappointment

“There will be less than optimal conditions for learning,” Deveney said.

Committee for Measure B Co-chairperson Matt Gelso said he was “extremely disappointed.”

“When people have daily reminders about the schools, like they do about the roads, then they will realize how important this bond was,” Gelso said. “When there is year-round schooling and constant reminders about overcrowding, then the thinking will change.”

Deveney and Gelso agreed that numerous conditions were against the vote. Easter vacation, weather and poor timing were factors that hampered the bond’s passage.

“People forgot about the vote because their kids were out of school or they were on vacation,” Gelso said. “It would have passed if more people were around; I know it.”

Gelso also said that having the district and teachers involved in protracted salary negotiations impacted the vote. He said the negotiations pulled attention and effort away from the importance of the bond.

“Usually our community makes the right decisions,” he said. “This time it didn’t. Well at least it will be a very smooth ride to our year-round, dilapidated schools.”

Gelso was referring to the passage of Measure A, the bond to repair and maintain Truckee’s backbone roads.

“I don’t understand how people could vote for a bond (Measure A) that will cost them more over time,” he said. “The schools would have been considerably less.”

John Wojcik, TTUSD board president, said alternatives the district is considering aren’t attractive. Without the bond, he said the schools will need to consider year-round schooling and will feel the pinch of overcrowding before another bond can be passed.

“Modernization projects will be put on hold and construction of a new school will be pushed back at least a year,” he said. “We will be discussing a time for another bond election.”

The lakeside schools have an upcoming bond election in November during the general election.

“General election usually isn’t a good time for bond elections, but we have found out that during vacation week isn’t a good time either.”

Wojcik said he anticipates discussion about educating the publicconcerning education financing.

“People don’t realize that new construction and modernization come from developer fees,” he said. “That isn’t a big amount. Without the bond, the district can’t get the funds needed.”

TTUSD board member Debra Darby of Truckee said education will be the key.

“I don’t think people understand that there is no state funding to construct schools,” she said. “We have to do this again. Where are we going to house our kids?”

Wojcik said the district would be open to public comment about how the bond could pass in the future. Darby said professional advice should also be sought to determine the best election time to put the bond to vote.

At press time, the Nevada County Clerk’s Office had 56 additional absentee ballots and 12 provisional ballots still to add to the tally. County Clerk Bruce Bolinger said those were not enough to swing the election results.

FOR BOX/TOTALS

Placer County

Registered voters – 689

Ballots Cast – 356, or 51.7 percent of the precinct

Absentee ballots – 0

Yes – 243, 68.3 percent

No – 113, 31.7 percent

Nevada County

Registered voters – 7,617

Ballots Cast – 2,086, or 27.3 percent

Yes – 1286

No – 786

Provisional – 12

Districts Voting

Gateway – Yes 161, No 119

Schaffers Mill – Yes 105, No 54

Tahoe Donner – Yes 115, No 71

Bennett Flat – Yes 246, No 114

Juniper Flats – Yes 124, No 76

Glenshire – Yes 170, No 107

Prosser – Yes 163, No 101

Judah – Yes 128, No 82

Floriston/Russel Valley – Yes 19, No 32

Soda Springs – Yes 36, No 19

Indian Cave – Yes 8, No 6

Hirschdale – Yes 32, No 16

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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