Forgive us, but we are still reeling from sticker shock. The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District seeks to pass Measure E, a $295 million bond, on the June 5 ballot to expand, improve and update facilities. The district needs only 55 percent of the vote to pass the measure.
Needless to say, that’s a lot of money, even by 2018 standards. Just eight years ago, MVLA asked voters to approve $41.3 million in new bonds to build new classrooms and update facilities. At $30 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, Measure E would cost voters up to $300 annually on a home assessed at $1 million. (The district’s 2017-2018 figure for median assessed valuation is $939,364.)
Why so much? You can thank the otherworldly success of Silicon Valley, and more specifically, heavy growth in Mountain View.
Construction costs have skyrocketed. The spate of new multifamily housing developments in our neighboring community means at least 500 more students projected to enroll in the district over the next five years. The rapid pace of innovation has prompted a continued need to modernize facilities – including cafeterias and libraries at both Los Altos and Mountain View high schools.
We’re not happy about the cost of Measure E. But we are happy with our high school district. MVLA leaders have earned our trust by providing high-quality education to generations of students. Local schools are near or at the top of the list of reasons property values are so high here and continue to grow, seemingly unaffected by economic downturns. Our schools continue to bring people in who can afford the astronomical housing costs so that they, too, can live in a desirable place to raise a family and secure a solid future for their kids. And, no small matter, MVLA has proven to be a good steward with bond funds in the past, completing projects on time and under budget.
The benefits of Measure E to those who have students in the district are obvious. To those who don’t have students in MVLA, think of supporting the bond measure as a personal investment – homeowners’ dues that come with the assurance that your property values continue to rise because the schools are in good shape.
Yes, Measure E costs a lot. But it’s the price we pay to maintain our high-quality community and keep our home values high. Given the alternative, it’s a price we’ll pay.