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Castaic voters to see bond on ballot

Posted: August 9, 2012 6:59 p.m.
Updated: August 9, 2012 6:59 p.m.


Castaic voters in November will see a bond measure on their ballots that would, if passed, provide Castaic Union School District with a $51 million infusion of cash.

The measure, dubbed Quality Schools for Castaic, would help the district with a laundry list of needed upgrades at all four schools, which educate nearly 3,000 students, district Superintendent Jim Gibson said Thursday.

Some members of the Castaic Area Town Council questioned the timing for the ballot measure, which they say would put another burden on voters during the state budget crisis. Other measures on the November ballot would, if passed, add additional statewide tax increases.

The money also could be more important as a means of maintaining the district’s standards for quality if voters decide to reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for tax hikes on the November ballot, officials said.

“Even though you can’t draw a direct line to salaries or keeping teachers, the reality is, if you can pay for more things out of the general fund, then you will save more things for our educational programs,” Gibson said.

If the measure passes, residents in the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade district would pay $19 per $100,000 in assessed land value — meaning a resident owning a $300,000 home would pay an additional $57 per year.

The district polled residents for approximately a year, Gibson said. Hundreds of responses yielded about 80 percent positive feedback for the measure via a mail survey and about 65 percent positive feedback from a phone survey.

However, the opposition cited the timing of the move as one reason why it was not a good idea.

“I think that everybody in the community knows someone who has lost their home,” said Dean Paradise, Castaic Area Town Council member. “And I don’t think the community is ready to spend more money on a bond at this time. It’s like going and asking for a raise while a business is closing down.”

With more and more reductions in state funding for schools, districts are more frequently asking voters to help pick up the check.

The Newhall School District recently authorized the funding for the first portion of a $60 million bond voters approved last November.

In the Sulphur Springs School District, Measure CK, which passed in June, authorized $73 million for school improvements.

Voters OK’d Measure SA, meant to bring a Castaic high school to the William S. Hart Union High School District, in November 2008, about 13 months after the onset of the Great Recession. It authorized $300 million for school construction and improvements.




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