Voters overwhelmingly approve Ravenswood schools bond measure | News | Almanac Online |


Voters overwhelmingly approve Ravenswood schools bond measure

Measure H will fund facility repairs and upgrades throughout district

A $26 million bond measure on the June 7 ballot to fund major capital improvements throughout the Ravenswood City School District has passed with a wide margin of support, according to election results provided by San Mateo County.

The district has schools in Menlo Park as well as East Palo Alto.

With all precincts reporting, 87.2 percent of voters supported Measure H, compared to 12.8 percent who voted against the measure. The bond required 55 percent to pass.

The total count of "yes" votes is 1,478 and "no" votes, 217, according to the county.

Measure H will provide funding for repairs and upgrades at all eight of the district's school sites, which are more than 50 years old and serve more than 3,400 students from preschool through eighth grade.

In past years, the district has had to use buckets to catch rain falling through aging roofs when it rained; to bring in portable, electric space heaters when Costaño Elementary School lost heat due to a gas leak last winter (and was eventually forced to close temporarily); to repair a sewer line under Brentwood Elementary School that recently cracked, among other emergency, piecemeal repairs.

District leadership characterized the measure — whose slogan was "warm, safe and dry" — as critical to help maintain these basic elements of a learning environment.

Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff and board President Ana Pulido said Wednesday morning they were confident the measure would pass and thankful to voters eager to support the schools.

"By passing this bond measure with such an overwhelming majority, they're really showing us that they are supportive of the direction that we're taking as a district and board," Hernandez-Goff said.

Measure H will fund new roofs at all the schools; upgraded heating, ventilating, air conditioning, climate-control, electrical and fire-safety systems; updated plumbing and parking facilities; modernized classrooms to accommodate higher-quality science, technology, engineering, math and language programs; and new furniture, equipment, classroom technology and landscaping.

The highest priority upgrades, Hernandez-Goff said, will be the new roofs, heating and air conditioning and fire and safety systems.

"This will allow us to fast-track all our roof repairs, as well as to make sure that our kids are warm in the winter and cool enough to focus and learn in the summer," she said.

Despite the significant upgrades, this is only a fraction of the $100 million in "critical" district-wide repairs identified through a comprehensive facilities master plan process, Hernandez-Goff said. The master plan itself will cost more than $300 million over several years.

The district sees Measure H as a first step toward the longer-term improvements envisioned in the master plan.

"We're very thankful (and) very excited to move forward," Pulido said.

The bond measure's projected annual tax rate is $30 per $100,000 of taxable value. A property assessed at $700,000, for example, would likely have an annual tax obligation of $210 under this measure.

Measure H is a general obligation bond, meaning it will be repaid over approximately 30 years through a tax on all taxable property — residential, commercial and industrial — located within the school district's boundaries.

The district estimates that the total amount repayable during the life of the bond, including principal and interest, is approximately $44 million.

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Like this comment
Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2016 at 3:33 pm

How many school bonds are on our tax bill now?

7 people like this
Posted by Publius
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2016 at 10:28 am

Hi Joan. Unless your property is in the Ravenswood School District, this bond will not be assessed to your property. I am glad to see that the Ravenswood District getting some funds that will ultimately help a student population that struggle greatly compared to their affluent peers in the other neighboring districts. One bond or parcel tax will not resolve the issues facing Ravenswood students but it is a start.

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 9, 2016 at 11:12 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Joan, if you are in the Menlo Park City School District, the outstanding bond debt is $136.9 million. That's up from the prior year $114.7 million thanks to refinancing.
See: Web Link
"To fund MPCSD’s facilities expansion and improvements, our voters have overwhelmingly approved three bond measures: a $22 million bond measure in 1995 with 82% voter approval (the “1995 Bonds”), a $91.1 million bond measure in 2006 with 70.6% voter approval (the “2006 Bonds”) and a $23 million bond measure in 2013 with 75.3% approval (the “2013 Bonds”). MPCSD appreciates our community’s support of our previous bond measures."

Total original bonds issued was $136.1 million.

From information provided to me by Ahmad Sheiksoleslami, MPCSD Chief Business & Operations Officer, I have calculated that service on that debt, which is paid for from your property taxes, is scheduled to average $10.43 Million/year for the next 25 years. Watch for it in your next tax bill. And pray that the current real estate bubble doesn't burst.

A spreadsheet which I have created, "MPCSD Annual Debt Service Schedules" is available on request from I will also include the communication from Ahmad.

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 9, 2016 at 11:16 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I forgot to mention that property taxes collected for debt service on the MPCSD bonds does not pass through the district's budget. If it did, it would reveal an additional $3,000 per ADA.

7 people like this
Posted by Libby the Libertarian Libertine
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 9, 2016 at 12:58 pm

"I forgot to mention"

Yes, some posters forget to mention quite a bit. We "forgot to mention" that the above poster has not made a post on this site suggesting he approved of any bond measure to improve our schools, our quality of life or our community. Ever.

Not a one. Compared to negative comments on virtually and measure since this site went up over a decade ago.

Ya know, Jack, there are other states that pay little tax and offer even less service.

Like: the libertarian laboratory called "Kansas"

Web Link Where Republicans Went Wrong in Kansas -
Governor Sam Brownback confronted a fiscal crisis of his own making, and nobody’s happy with the outcome

Web Link - Kansas Is Totally Screwed - Sam Brownback's tax cuts are wrecking the state's budget.

and most current, from Bloomberg, how so-called libertarian tax ideals fail in untold ways

Web Link Taxpayers Call Themselves Businesses as Kansas Tax Plan Founders - "This is only going to get worse." State Representative Mark Hutton

Some folks want to build upon our great community and support future generations of Americans.

Some don't.

Like this comment
Posted by Libby the Libertarian Libertine
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm

*any measure (not 'and')

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 9, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I didn't approve of Measure A, the "Best Schools Proposal" in 1991 either. Neither did the voters as they overwhelmingly defeated this 1/2% sales tax which would have funded yet another bureaucracy.
See: Web Link

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