Measure K for Kids
LTUSD has placed a Special Bond Measure on the November 8th ballot with the aim of raising funding to improve and modernize all six schools in the District.
The Club is particularly interested in this Measure as we use three of the school sites on a daily basis, and equally as importantly, our members use them all! The Club also understands better than most the impacts of the aging infrastructure across the District. The Club was based in the Al Tahoe School for well over a decade and in that time dealt with leaking roofs, burst pipes, freezing cold or boiling hot water, no heating for two weeks one January, termites, mice, cracked flooring, holes in the asphalt. And those are just the issues we can remember!
Another huge frustration in the Al Tahoe building was the security. We had a front desk staff, but people could come and go through the other wing (not part of the Club) unmonitored. It is awful to think that someone may enter a school with malicious intent, but sadly it happens all too often. A single point entry is a much safer option and ensures that the school staff can control who has access to the site.
Since we moved into our building this spring, the advantages of a modern and safe building have really hit home. When it is cold, our energy efficient heating system keeps us warm. During the summer we had air-conditioning to keep us cool. On smokey days we couldn’t smell smoke inside our building, and recently we put in an air purifier at a cost of over $6000 but it ensures that our members are breathing in fresh and sanitized air. The modernized spaces are also more conducive to 21st century learning. You only have to enter the STEM room to see how new technology and equipment can bring subjects alive. And spaces that permit more movement and collaboration are going to rebuild the confidence and social skills lost during the pandemic. We have also seen an increase in member enjoyment of Club at the Angel of Tahoe building. They love the space and are excited to be here. Environments affect self-esteem and studies have shown that new schools with all the bells and whistles get better grades, even if nothing but the environment has changed.
So for the sake of our members’ safety, health and education, the Club hopes that Measure K passes. But we also understand that it will have an impact on our community.
The Measure is a tax on the assessed value of a property. The ‘assessed value’ is not the sale value that you’ll see on websites like Zillow. It is the price that the County assessed it was worth when you purchased your house/land. So if you bought between 2008 and 2012, it is probably a lot lower than your house is now worth. If you purchased in the past two years, it will be a lot higher! You can check your assessed value on your property tax statement. The Measure requests $35 per $100,000 of assessed value. So if your house is assessed at $1,000,000 – you’ll be asked for an additional $350/year. If your house is worth less, the tax will be less. LTUSD estimates that the majority of home owners in the District would pay an extra $10/month in property tax, a figure that is hopefully doable for the majority of homeowners. Plus second home owners, VHRs etc will all have to pay the tax too. And as those tend to be the bigger homes in our neighborhoods, they will probably be paying more.
And if you rent, then you won’t be taxed. Of course your landlord could try to pass that additional cost onto you, but it is definitely worth making sure that any increases in your rent are justified and in writing. Many renters were unfairly treated during the pandemic and subsequent housing surge and the Family Resource Center and other local organizations can offer support to renters facing unfair price hikes.
The other important information point about a bond measure like Measure K is that it can ONLY be spent on improving and modernizing the school buildings. It can’t be spent on teacher or admin salaries, and an independent committee (seperate from the School Board) will have to be formed to ensure that 100% of the money raised goes to safety improvements and modernization of buildings.
So while the additional financial burden on homeowners, at a time when gas, food and utility costs are going up, is less than ideal. The welfare and education of our kids should still be a top priority for our community, and we hope that our local voters will agree with that belief on November 8th.