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Groups back school bond

Chamber, teachers line up behind Measure SA

Posted: September 23, 2008 8:21 p.m.
Updated: November 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Hart District Teachers Association voted to endorse Measure SA, the Hart district’s $300 million construction bond on the November ballot.

The measure would help maintain excellent educational standards the William S. Hart Union High School District schools set and will prepare local students for college and careers, according to Leslie Littman, teacher association president.

“The community should be very proud of the success of its local schools,” she said. “API scores this year exceeded the goals set by the state at many of our schools and nearly 95 percent of our students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the future.”

Measure SA is a local solution that would guarantee funding for local schools, Littman said.

“Waiting to pass a funding measure is not an option. We need to finish the current modernization projects and start building a new high school now, not later,” Littman said. “Measure SA will give teachers the resources they need to continue this success by funding needed improvements to classrooms, laboratories and other learning facilities, as well as providing safety upgrades and updates to technology.”

After a very spirited discussion, the bond endorsement passed with a majority vote at the Sept. 16 meeting of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, a policy-setting group that represents about 1,600 businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“A high-quality education is one of the things that we use to attract new businesses and residents to this community,” said Larry Mankin, Chamber president and CEO.

Some projects that would be funded by the bond measure include modernizing classrooms, replacing temporary buildings, upgrading facilities to meet fire and safety codes and relieving overcrowding at existing schools by adding a high school in the Castaic area.

“Those are issues that our board of directors felt very strongly about,” Mankin said.

The 38th Assembly District Republican Central Committee recently tabled separate motions to support - and not to support the bond.

Republican Joe Messina is concerned the Hart district does not have an adequate plan as to how to spend the potential bond money.

“We’re not against the schools or the kids, we’re just not sure about this bond at this time, the way it is written,” Messina said. “We don’t know how (the district) is going to build a high school and finish their current projects without a plan.”

Measure V was approved for $30 per $100,000 of assessed valuation in 2001. The new bond asks for voters to approve a $5 increase per $100,000, which would increase property taxes to $35 per $100,000 assessed valuation, Hart district Superintendent Jaime Castellanos said.


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