WatchSonoma Watch

Santa Rosa school board weighs bond measure or tax hike


Santa Rosa City Schools is considering pursuing a bond measure or parcel tax to offset deep cuts from Sacramento in recent years.

The school board on Wednesday night discussed what remains in outstanding principal from voter-supported bonds dating back to 1991 and whether local voters would support another round of either taxes or bond repayments.

SchoolhouseBoard President Bill Carle said he would consider both a bond measure to shore up facilities that have been neglected during cuts to maintenance budgets, as well as a parcel tax for technology needs.

“Maybe that is political suicide. I don’t know the answer, but I don’t think so in this community,” he said.

Board members expressed support for a poll to gauge voter support for a variety of proposals and expenditures.

Trustee Ron Kristof said the district’s technology is in “woeful” shape and that the passage of Proposition 30 by California voters in November is helpful but does not go far enough.

“We have taken large hits for a long time,” he said. “As much as I appreciate the public support in the passage of Prop. 30, this in fact only put a floor under us. We have a long way to go to catch up with other states, other countries.”

Since 1991, voters in Sonoma County’s largest school district have approved $237 million in bonds which have paid for dramatic overhauls and construction on the district’s campuses. In 1991, voters approved a $129-million bond measure for middle and high schools, then an additional $12 million for elementary campuses. In 2002, voters approved a $96-million bond measure to support all schools, kindergarten through 12th grade.

The result was new buildings, theaters, cafeteria overhauls and upgrades to athletic fields and stadiums.

Property owners are still paying off the bonds issued to pay for those projects. Within the high school district, they are currently paying $57.90 per $100,000 in assessed value. In the elementary district, the cost is $25.50 per $100,000 in assessed value. The elementary district is approximately one-third the size of the high school district in terms of parcels.

The outstanding principal on the high school bond measures is $120.7 million, according to Lori Raineri, president of Government Financial Strategies which has overseen the district’s bond measures for more than two decades. The outstanding principal on the elementary district bonds is $22.4 million.

No action was taken on the discussion item Wednesday night.

You can reach Staff Writer Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @benefield.

11 Responses to “Santa Rosa school board weighs bond measure or tax hike”

  1. Jelly Bean says:

    How about saving money by terminating teachers that under-perform? That should allow plenty of revenue for the Board, and give a boost to the children’s education to boot!

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  2. bear says:

    The answer is balanced budgets based on

    more revenue, and it doesn’t have to come from you poor, impoverished people.

    What it takes is closing tax loopholes and taxing fairly the ultra-rich. Where else in the world are the folks like Romney going to get a 13.9% rate? Yet you folks GIVE IT AWAY as if it profits you? And the Defense budget – and the wars?

    Tell me YOUR family has paid in blood.

    You’re selling out your children so Romney and Trump can profit? This is beyond dumb.

    If you want tax reform, I’m willing to debate it. Otherwise you get a populist revolution.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  3. The Hammer says:

    I’m done with giving them any more monies. Done, done and done!

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  4. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Over half of California’s general fund goes to education every year. I guess $50 billion isn’t enough. http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/pdf/budgetsummary/summarycharts.pdf

    Compare that to the US Postal Service $4.5 billion, FBI $8 billion, Environmental Protection Agency $10.5 billion, NASA 18.5 billion, Dept. of Justice $29 billion, Dept. of Education $49.5 billion. http://visual.ly/death-taxes-2012

    The future ain’t what it used to be. It’s more expensive.

    P.S. The interest on the national debt $251 billion is more than the Army’s budget $244 billion.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  5. Paul says:

    Well, the taxes on this shack I bought in SR in 85 are now TRIPLE what they were when I bought it, and that’s with prop 13. Bond issues? You bet!
    I voted against every one of those bonds and I’ll vote against these tax increases if I have a chance to. I am not here to be a cash cow for every bond you want to throw up to see if it will stick. Learn to live a little BELOW your means, like I have had to do all my life, and you might just have some money for a rainy day, rather than just sticking your hand out and hollering MORE MORE MORE!!

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  6. James Bennett says:


    The go to black hole.

    More globalist directed take down/crashing.

    The ‘technology’ is for computers to implement the UN directed ‘Common Core’ school curriculum.

    That has so much dark baggage, it is very much in your interest to learn about it. There’s a piece on it in the last issue of The North Bay Independent (.org).

    What would an oppressive take over be without a plan to indoctrinate the kids?

    UN Agenda 21.

    A complete Plan, for complete control.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  7. Grapevines says:

    Ricardo Soriento hit the nail right on the head! Politicians have a spending problem. Todays paper has an article in it that a Bay Area county gets a grant to reduce it’s rape kit backlog. It seems that Alameda County has a backlog of some 2,000 rape kits, some going back several years. So that means that these crimes are not fully prosecuted because by not testing, you can’t link the perpetrator to other crimes. Here’s the article: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130328/WIRE/130329531/1308/news02?Title=Bay-Area-county-gets-grant-to-reduce-rape-kit-backlog

    Now remember just last week? Alameda County?? They pay the county administrator $413,000 a year! Yet they have to go begging for funds for rape kits??

    Taking care of themselves and sticking it to the taxpayer.

    Here’s the article on the county administrator: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130325/WIRE/130329679/0/search

    Now who’s feeling enthusiastic about another tax increase?

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  8. DON says:

    RECALL NOW! Start with Moon Beam.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  9. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    Just when exactly will the voters of California and Sonoma County get a clue? The ink is barely dry on billions of increased taxes and local government is already thinking of how to get more, and not just by one means, but two… bonds and parcel taxes.

    Proof positive that we don’t have a lack-of-taxes issue, but one of simply spending too much and then wanting to spend more on top of that… pathetic.

    Thumb up 33 Thumb down 3

  10. Charlie says:

    Oh god, of course they are gonna raise taxes, is there any debate? These people are owned by Unions who believe taxpayers are their own personal piggybank.

    In other countries , its called corruption.

    Thumb up 32 Thumb down 3

  11. Grapevines says:

    Why I’m so shocked to hear that the schools still need money after being promised by Gov Moonbeam that Prop 30 would cure that.

    I’m going to drown my sorrows by building a “High Speed Train” somewhere that nobody will ride it. How about Madera to Fresno?

    Thumb up 32 Thumb down 4

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