Bolinas-Stinson School gauging interest on bond measure for facilities

11/09/2017

The Bolinas-Stinson Union School District is gauging community interest in the possibility of a bond measure on next fall’s ballot aimed at improving school facilities. The district sent out a four-question survey last month that invites participants to prioritize a list of facilities for improvements and provide more specific information in a blank space. The last proposed bond measure, from 2014, failed to meet the necessary 55 percent support, with 49.72 percent in favor, perhaps because the language was too broad, district superintendent John Carroll said. That measure would have generated $9 million for modernizing outdated classrooms, restrooms and school facilities, renovating a multi-purpose room and improving instructional technology, health, safety and handicapped accessibility and the “quality of education with funding that cannot be taken by the state.” “Because there was a list of everything under the sun, I think people voted it down either because there was one item they may not have been in support of, or else because they didn’t trust what we were going to do with the funds,” Mr. Carroll said. This time around, the district would limit the measure to facilities improvements. Those might include renovating the multi-purpose room to create a gym or performance space, rebuilding the current art facilities and upgrading classrooms, but the district hopes the survey will help identify the community’s interests. The board will consider the results in early December and ultimately decide whether or not to go forward with a measure. Mr. Carroll noted that the district’s parcel tax, which generates almost half a million each year from the $300 paid per parcel, is up for renewal in 2020. The parcel tax helps maintain arts, physical education, music, foreign language and other programs, and its upcoming renewal could be a reason to forgo the bond measure so as not to overwhelm the community, he said. He also noted that Bolinas-Stinson, as a basic aid district, can hold onto any extra funds generated by property taxes for later use. This means that as an alternative to the bond measure, the board could consider putting some the parcel tax revenue aside each year to save up for facilities improvements. The district, with just 106 students this year, has an annual budget for the 2017-2018 school year of $4,538,411. That means it has about four times the state’s average of $10,291 per student. “Our employees are some of the best paid in the county, we have small class sizes and also a large reserve, including one for special education,” Mr. Carroll said.