On July 14, the Gavilan College Board of Trustees voted to change the distribution of funds provided by Measure X, a $248 million school bond approved by voters in 2018. Both Superintendent/President Kathleen Rose and Board of Trustees President Rachel Perez said several times in regards to Measure X fund that “the San Benito Campus is our No. 1 priority.”
The San Benito campus known as Fairview Corners was originally allotted $52 million from the school bond; $7 million will be added to the funding for Fairview Corners, bringing the total allotment to $59 million.
“No one was able to predict the infrastructure needed,” Perez said.
The new allotment means that money must be taken from other projects, including site improvements and security on the main Gilroy campus, and the Visual and Performing Arts Complex on the main campus, also paid for by Measure X. Just over $23 million was assigned to future projects and has been defunded in the current draft.
Trustee Edwin Diaz said he could not vote on the new draft unless revisions were made to return $5 million for future projects. Trustee Jonathan Brusco believes that following COVID-19, education would be changed and that many classes would not meet in person, so there would not be a need for as many lecture classrooms. Referring to Fairview Corners, he said, “We need to keep eyes on the evolution of that campus.”
Trustee Irma Gonzalez said that more money should be given to the campus because San Benito residents have been paying for it with their property taxes.
“This is an opportunity to make good on our promise,” she said.
Several members of the San Benito community spoke about the campus at the meeting. Hollister resident and San Benito Citizens for a Brighter Future co-founder Mia Casey said given that several projects cost more than originally budgeted, she was concerned about the overages. Elia Salinas, also from Hollister, said she understood how the bonds work and said changes could be made to give the county what they were promised.
Gonzalez said that many members of the community have contacted her with their concerns regarding the campus, which is still in Phase One development. Diaz said it was hard because if San Benito County gets what it wants, someone else would be “disappointed.”
The board voted on the new draft with the revision requested by Diaz. Only Gonzalez voted not to adopt the new revision and draft, as she said it does not adequately fund the Fairview Corners campus.
See the PDF for the full revision draft.
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