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SRVUSD Board Favoring November Ballot for Bond Measure

In a comprehensive survey of district voters, 52 percent said they would vote in favor of the facilities bond measure if voting was held today.

After receiving the results of a comprehensive public opinion survey, the _San Ramon Valley Unified School District_ Board of Education is leaning toward putting the facilities bond measure — that could cost an estimated $230 million — on the November ballot, said Terry Kohene, the district's community relations director.

In the past, the board has talked about having the election as early as June, or one of the general elections in 2014. But on the recommendation from EMC Research, who conducted a January survey of 600 district residents, the board said November is probably the most attractive option for the vote.

A final decision on when the vote will take place could come as soon as Tuesday, at the board's next meeting. For the bond to pass, it will have to meet a 55 percent threshold.

Projects discussed that could find themselves in the bond proposal included a complete renovation of _Stone Valley Middle School_, major renovations of several elementary schools, the expansion of Dougherty Valley High School and Quail Run Elementary School, plus putting emphasis on technology infrastructure throughout the district, including a robust wi-fi network.

The main reason why the board is leaning to have the election in November, as opposed to June, is to give the district enough time to make their case to residents on why the facilities bond measure is necessary, Kohene said.

Maybe the most concerning survey result for the board was when residents were asked if the district was in need of money.

Just 22 percent said there was a "great need" for more money for the district; 39 percent said "some need"; 8 percent said they didn't know; 11 percent said there was "little need"; and 20 percent said there was "no need".

Residents also indicated they were satisfied with the education the district is currently providing. Eighty-five percent said they thought the overall quality of education was excellent or good; 4 percent said they didn't know; and 12 percent said the quality of education was fair or poor.

What may be encouraging for proponents of the bond is the 52 percent of the residents surveyed who said they would vote yes for a $260 million bond measure, while 41 percent said they would vote no.

When residents were told how much the measure could potentially cost per household ($30 per $100,000 of assessed value to the owners property), support went down to the tune of 49 percent in favor and 46 percent said they were against.

The survey showed parents of students in San Ramon Valley schools were more supportive than the rest of those surveyed. Sixty-three percent of SRV parents were in favor, compared to 52 percent of non-SRV parents.

Registered Democrats were significantly more supportive than Republicans. Seventy percent of Democrats said they were in favor, compared to 43 percent of Republicans.

The survey also showed a significant anti-tax sentiment. Thirty-nine percent said they strongly or somewhat agree that taxes are too high. That was up from 32 percent in December 2008, when EMC conducted another similar survey.

The survey indicated this bond could be more difficult to pass than any other recent bond measure or parcel tax. 

Of the last 10 parcel taxes and bond measures EMC Research has conducted surveys on for the district (from 2002-09), this survey had the lowest initial support (51 percent).

(To see all the results from the survey, click on the PDF file on the right.)

Mike February 16, 2012 at 09:38 PM
My property taxes will go up by $210 annually if this passes. I think that they need to find another way to fund these improvements.
Terry Parris Jr. February 16, 2012 at 11:33 PM
We'll be taking letters to the editor on this. Email me at terry.parris@patch.com.

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