As students return to classes this week, school districts have wrapped up filing bond measures for the upcoming November election.
Those include a $591 million school bond measure for the Sequoia Union High School District and a $298 million school bond for the Redwood City School District. The Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees voted to approve its bond on Aug. 3.
On Aug. 10, the Redwood City School Board of Trustees convened to hear a final update before unanimously voting to approve the $298 million bond with a $24 tax rate per $100,000 of assessed property value, which would bring in $16 million annually for the school district.
According to the district, it has identified more than $400 million in repairs and updates needed since Measure T, $193 million, passed in 2015. However, total priority improvements would require about $241 million across all school sites.
This would include roughly $28.8 million for Henry Ford, $3.1 million for Orion Alternative School and $23.5 million for McKinley, among other schools and upgrades.
The funds would go toward renovating aging classrooms, updating school libraries, fixing deteriorating rooms and upgrading electrical plumbing.
Jessica Shade, a Redwood City resident, spoke out during public comment and said she supported the bond.
“The funds that are provided by the bond are going to be absolutely critical for our district because a lot of our facilities are older, and we need to be able to meet the latest health and safety standards,” Shade said. “Updating our school infrastructure would have impacts beyond just families with students in the Redwood City School District.
“Top of the line schools also help improve home prices,” Shade added.
Chris Robell, another Redwood City resident and a retired CFO, also spoke during public comment and said he had spoken to dozens of residents who are against the bond measure. He was the lone opponent of the bond among the other speakers. He called the bond anti-housing, reckless and unfair.
“It’s a terrible time for new taxes; that’s obvious with the economy,” Robell told the board. “But if one is needed, I think, really, a parcel tax is way more appropriate than a bond measure….”