Government / Politics

School bond above 60 percent approval as final results are awaited

Measure M campaign focused on communicating specific needs to voters

Measure M, a bond that will provide $28.5 million for renovations and upgrades at Hollister schools, will likely exceed the 55 percent approval needed to pass, according to the semi-official election results reported Wednesday morning. The final election results are expected Nov. 7, with absentee ballots turned in on election day and provisional ballots still to be counted. Based on the absentee ballots and day-of voting, nearly 62 percent of voters said yes to the school bond.

Gary McIntire, the superintendent of the Hollister Elementary District, said he did not expect to see approval of the measure above 56 or 57 percent.

“From the beginning, I knew that our position advocated for adequate school facilities for our students and staff, and was based on a sound description of need,” he said via email Thursday. “However, it is never an easy case adding to the tax burden of the community.”

The Measure will raise $28.5 million for renovations to the elementary school district facilities.

The list of facility project needs in the Measure included:

  • Fixing or replacing leaking roofs
  • Upgrading and/or improving electrical service capacity
  • Maintaining and repairing classrooms, science/project labs and school buildings
  • Replacing windows, ceilings, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning and lighting
  • Repairing or replacing water/irrigation/sewer systems
  • Removing dry rot
  • Upgrading classrooms, science/project labs, libraries, multi-purpose rooms, restrooms, computers and learning technology
  • Adding classrooms
  • Making upgrades for earthquake safety
  • Replacing fire alarms

McIntire said the school board and district officials worked to identify a clear list of needs and projects.

“We wanted to be able to communicate the highest priority needs and what we planned to do to address them,” he said. “We knew that a clear picture of what we would do with the funds would be essential if we were to gain voter support for our measure.”

McIntire said the campaign committee used little signage and did not use mass media, but instead focused their efforts on reaching the most likely voters to support the district’s measure at the polls with direct mailings and door-to-door distribution. The committee also made phone calls to likely voters in October to increase knowledge of the measure and ask for support.

Once the school board certifies the election results, McIntire said the district’s financial advisor and bond council will complete the work to begin issue bonds. The first bonds will likely be issued in March 2015.

“In the coming months we will simultaneously work on design with our architects on the high priority projects, while seeking a bond oversight committee,” he said, nothing design work will have to be submitted to the Division of the State Architect for approval.

Once there is an approved project, the district will submit a funding request to the State Allocation Board to receive any state matching funds.

Pending the official results of the election on Friday and confirmation that Measure M has indeed past, McIntire said the officials and board members are ready to start working on these steps. They are aiming to have contracts ready for architectural services for Board approval in November so they can move to the design phase as quickly as possible.

“We are anxious to get work started so we can demonstrate to our community that their support results in work getting done for our students and staff, and schools they can be proud of,” McIntire said.

A $42.5 million school bond for the San Benito High School District that required a super-majority approval of 55 percent of voters passed in the June primary by a narrow margin of 56.29 percent.


Melissa Anderson

Melissa (Flores) Anderson is the former city editor of the Weekend Pinnacle and Hollister Free Lance, where she covered education, county government and more. She currently works for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at San Jose State University, where she manages the College blog, newsletter and website updates. She has a master's in print journalism from the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.