Voters say ‘Si’ to Measure C |

Voters say ‘Si’ to Measure C

The Measure C vote passed in Tuesday’s special election, according to semiofficial results from the Nevada County elections office, narrowly meeting the two-thirds required majority.

Not including the 56 absentee ballots, 68.6 percent of voters supported the measure with 1,737 votes; and 31.4 percent of voters opposed it with 795 votes. Even if all absentee votes were against the bond issue, the measure would still pass, according to election officials.

A companion bond for Lakeside schools, Measure R, which will fund $25 million in modernization and infrastructure improvements also passed in a separate special election Tuesday. Seventy-six percent of voters supported it with 1,466 votes and 24 percent of voters rejected it with 465 votes.

“I continue to be impressed with the dedication and wisdom of the community towards its schools,” said Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District Superintendent Pat Gemma.

“I think these measures and funds provided will launch the public schools. A lot of excellence that exists is hidden behind dilapidated and overcrowded buildings,” said Gemma.

“I wasn’t surprised with the results,” said Dan Collin, a member of the Measure C Citizens’ Committee. “I think the community really supports the schools. I feel elated and very thankful for all the hard work of the committee and everyone else involved.”

The $35 million bond will be used to target overcrowding in Truckee schools. The bond will enable the district to build a new middle school for 1,000 students, convert Sierra Mountain Middle School into a new elementary school and expand the core facilities at Truckee Elementary and Tahoe Truckee High School.

The funds generated from the bond will also bring more technology into all Truckee schools and upgrade maintenance, plumbing, heating, electrical and security systems.

“I’m really happy with the results and that the community supported (the bond),” said Marlys Zusy, a committee member and spokesperson.

“I’m glad the community has always supported of kids in Truckee. It’s a real family-oriented community and it really shows in this,” she said. “I’m glad the community realized we weren’t asking for luxuries, that we were asking for necessities.”

According to Collin, the work for improving schools with the new bond will begin immediately.

“The priority of course is the middle school as far as the Truckee side is concerned,” he said.

Due to overcrowding, SMMS students now have one-way traffic between classes.

The school district is currently looking for a site for the new school. But because of California law, a school cannot be built within two miles of an airport, said Collins.

“That wipes out a good chunk of Truckee,” he said.

The doors for the new middle school will not open for another four to five years, he said.

Another thing that will happen right away will be the formation of a Citizen’s Advisory Panel, a group consisting of community members who will oversee bond expenditures and projects.

“We would like to see a cross-section of the community on the panel,” said Zusy. The Measure C committee will probably run advertisements to solicit members for the panel next week, she said.

In the meantime, some smaller projects will also begin immediately. The committee hopes to add multi-purpose rooms at both the high school and Truckee Elementary and to expand the core facilities at both sites, something that could be started soon, said Zusy.

Technology upgrades could also be immediate.

With the passage of Measure C, the district will be entitled to funds from Measure A, a statewide bond that will provide $6.2 billion for schools. Measure A was passed by voters in 1998. The district hopes to get at least $10 million from the state in matching funds from Measure A funds, said Zusy.

The Measure C bond issue was the second attempt by the district to pass the $35 million bond for construction of a new middle school and upgrade of school campuses. The last attempt failed in a close vote last April.

The official results will be posted in the next few days, election officials said. Over the next few days, election officials will do a hand-count of one percent of the votes and will verify the signatures on the absentee votes.

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