Yes on Measure H
Measure H, the Sierra College bond, will come before voters on the November ballot. We are in support of the measure for several reasons: A local campus provides an excellent, cost-effective opportunity for high school graduates considering a college education; Sierra College offers vital training for professionals and adults; and a local campus will provide our community with the intellectual capital it deserves.As Truckee grows into an increasingly more affluent town, one thing that will remain is the core middle-class family. All one needs to do is observe our elementary, middle and high schools each morning and watch the parade of cars dropping kids off for the day. Those students aren’t going to disappear once they finish high school. Yes, some families will have the wherewithal to send their sons and daughters on to a four-year university outside the Sierra Nevada. But some won’t. That’s one reason why we support Measure H. The effort proposes a $35 million bond that would fund land purchase and the construction of a 40,000-square-foot Sierra College campus here in Truckee. With that comes a price. The bond would assess roughly $16 per $100,000 of assessed value per year on homes within the boundaries of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. We feel that investment is worth it. A Sierra College Truckee campus would be an amenity that everyone in the community could benefit from and enjoy. Those benefits come in a variety of ways that are difficult to place a price on yet are extremely valuable – to everyone. As part of Sierra College’s plans, the Truckee Donner Land Trust will hold more than 50 percent of the proposed 73-acre McIver Hill campus parcel as open space. That means trails and access – for everyone.As area high school students face graduation, their options currently include leaving for a four-year school, attending Sierra College’s undersized leased space in Truckee, commuting to Nevada in order to continue their education, or find a job.With only a high school diploma in hand, the latter option will only get a kid so far. With the way fuel prices are going, commuting to Reno, Incline Village or anywhere else outside a 30 minute radius of Truckee is going to cost much, much more in gas money in a year than the tax assessment. Furthermore, paying for a student’s desire to attain a higher education at a local community college can be a much more economical way to begin a stint at a university – and that’s a choice we think Truckee students deserve. Already, Sierra College is noted for its high student transfer rates to University of California and California State University schools.And we haven’t even touched on the community college’s role in vocational training for those young people who opt to stay in the community and aren’t particularly interested in – or can’t afford – post-secondary education.Finally, there is the continuing education component Sierra College offers. Full-time professionals with full-time families who want to enhance their earning potential by taking for-credit classes shouldn’t have to commute to Nevada or over the summit to do so.Obviously, a yes vote on Measure H will increase every home owner’s tax burden regardless of whether there is a student in the house or not. But in the long run we believe the costs and benefits of a Sierra College Truckee campus are worth it – for everyone.
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