This letter to the editor was contributed by San Benito High School Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum and Board of Trustees President John Corrigan.
We write to address the incorrect information included in your article “Sticker Shock: One school bond too far?” published on January 17, 2020. The article, which expresses the concerns of local residents about property taxes in Hollister, includes misleading information about Measure L. Measure L is a $30 million school bond measure placed on the March 3, 2020 ballot by the San Benito High School District to fund the final phase of school improvements at San Benito High School.
For clarification, the average annual tax is estimated to be $13 per $100,000 in assessed value per year or approximately $65 per year for a single family home in the District having an average assessed value of approximately $500,000. The highest annual tax in Fiscal Year 2020-21 is estimated to be $20 per $100,000 in assessed value per year.
Additionally, the article confused two different types of revenue measures, parcel taxes and general obligation bonds, which resulted in the publication of incorrect information regarding Measure L. Senior exemptions are available only for parcel taxes, and school districts are not legally permitted to include senior exemptions in a general obligation bond measure like Measure L. The article incorrectly inferred that such exemptions were available, that SBHSD had simply chosen not to include a senior exemption from Measure L, and that SBHSD was incorrect in its assertion that such an exemption could not be granted.
SBHSD has worked hard to earn the trust of Hollister residents through careful, prudent stewardship of taxpayer funds in recent years. We are proud of the school improvements we have been able to make with the support of the local community for the benefit of all school children in and around Hollister. If you would like more information about our plans for the final phase of school construction and about Measure L, we welcome you to visit our school or website at http://www.sbhsd.k12.ca.us/.
Shawn Tennenbaum, Superintendent, San Benito High School District
John Corrigan, President, San Benito High School District Board of Trustees