Education / Schools

SBHS trustees to place $30 million bond on March ballot

Fifty-five percent voter approval will be required to pass.

On Nov. 12, the San Benito High School Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to put a school bond measure on the March 3 ballot that would raise up to $30 million for new infrastructure projects. The measure will require 55% voter approval to pass.

According to state law, the bond election must be voted on during a statewide primary election or already scheduled local election. The bond will be named by the county based on the next available letter designation.

After the resolution was approved without comment, Trustee Juan Robledo said that people should not think of this as a new, third bond (following Measures G and U), but as a single big bond broken into three parts. 

“People might criticize that, but to me that’s showing we didn’t ask for something we didn’t need,” Robledo said. “We only asked for what we need and people have been very good about giving us that.”

According to the full ballot text approved by the school board, funds from the new bond measure would be used for the following project list that’s broken down into three categories:

Category 1: Projects to enhance 21st century learning environments and foster collaboration, group learning and building community.

  • Abate and demolish old career technical education building to allow for construction of a new multi-purpose building that includes a student union, cafeteria, restrooms and student quad with outdoor amphitheater, seating, drought-tolerant landscaping, and features to promote assemblies and gatherings. 
  • Demolish maintenance and operations building to improve safety and circulation of students on campus; relocate and reconstruct maintenance, operations and transportation building, including shop and warehouse building, bus and district vehicle parking and yard, including charging stations for electric school buses, and fencing.
  • Demolish old, unused portable classrooms.

Category 2: Projects to improve student and campus safety and security.

  • Install or replace safety and security systems, which may include installation of door locks, controlled access systems, fencing, gates, signage, and fencing. 

Category 3: Projects to modernize utility infrastructure and install energy-efficient systems. 

  • Install new photovoltaic panels and energy efficiency systems to generate clean energy and reduce utility costs. 

SBHS Public Information Officer Adam Breen told BenitoLink that the majority of bond funds would be used on the multi-purpose building and for campus safety (Categories 1 and 2). 

“Specific costs of each project will be determined and publicized,” he said. Bond funds might also be used to acquire or lease property. 

During the meeting, Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum said that if the bond passes, the top priority will be an 11,000-square-foot student union similar to ones found on campuses such as San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University and UC-Berkeley. 

There will be citizen oversight and annual audits until the bond sunsets, which is anticipated to be in 2049-50, and all funds will stay in the community, according to the ballot text.

The school board determined the average annual tax rate levied to meet the debt service requirements will not exceed $13 per $100,000 of the assessed value of taxable property. Because the San Benito High School District is within San Benito County and a portion of Santa Clara County (according to SBHS, 71 Santa Clara County residents would be eligible to vote), the board will request the registrars of voters in both counties to act as the election officials, coordinate the call of an election, and submit to voters the full ballot proposition.

Trustee John Corrigan, acting as the SBHS clerk of the board, will need to deliver copies of the resolution with the completed tax rate statement to the county elections office no later than Dec. 6, along with copies to the clerks of the Boards of Supervisors in both counties.

None of the trustees responded to BenitoLink’s request for comments.

Noe Magaña contributed to this article.

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: johnchadwell@benitolink.com.