Government / Politics

UPDATED: Hollister school bond headed toward passage

Hollister school bond Measure M yes votes lead as early election results come in

As precinct reports came in on election night, Measure M, a $28.5 million school bond to support renovations for the Hollister School District  continued to have the approval of voters with 62 percent of precincts reported, according to the San Benito County Office of the Registrar. As of 11:34 p.m., Measure M had 61 percent approval compared to 39 percent no votes. The measure needed a super majority of 55 percent approval to pass. It is the second school bond measure this year to be decided by local voters.

When the first numbers came in on Tuesday's election night, Measure M, a $28.5 million school bond to support renovations for the Hollister School District, had the approval of 59 percent of voters, according to early results reported by the San Benito County Office of the Registrar at 8:01 p.m.

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.

Before the election, Hollister Elementary School District Superintendent Gary McIntire stressed the importance of the measure.

“There is simply no funding mechanism other than school impact fees to help us accommodate growth in enrollment, and local general obligation bond measures to provide for new construction and modernization,” McIntire said. “We must provide for our own community. There is no one else to do it.”

McIntire said before 2010, school districts were allowed to participate in a deferred maintenance program that allowed them to match local general fund dollars with state funds for maintenance such as roofing, flooring, electrical fixtures and lighting. But when the state budget crisis hit in 2009-10, that program ended.

“This means the entire cost of any modernization projects, most capital improvement projects and all new construction must be born locally through local ballot measures paid for through local property taxes,” McIntire said.

Impact fees from the developers who build new housing projects in the city are shared by the high school and elementary districts, but they would not cover the full cost of building a new school. McIntire said the estimated cost for a new elementary school would be $22 million. They currently have $1.6 million in impact fees.

“Our state will face a school facilities crisis in the not too distant future because of the lack of funding for school buildings,” McIntire said. “Heating and cooling systems wear out, roofs degrade, classrooms and restrooms have high density traffic and take incredible wear and abuse.”

The Measure M includes a list of facility projects:

  • 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

“Our district architects have identified more than $150 million worth of projects in our district, which would include building a new school off of Fairview,” McIntire said. “Even if it passes, this bond measure will only raise $28.5 million…Our facilities committee is working to identify the most important needs – our priorities, so that we can make certain those projects are taken care of.”


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.