It seems that every few years, the Pajaro Valley School Trustees decide they need and want more and more money. They say they are concerned about the schools in the district and rightly so. But then they want to “saddle/burden” the taxpayers of Santa Cruz County with millions and millions of dollars to satisfy their “wants/wish list.” Where are their concerns of what is going to happen to the property owners?
Apparently, only two trustees expressed some concern for the voters of the PVUSD and homeowners in the same sentence. I can appreciate them being concerned, but I am just a little confused! Just exactly who are they concerned about? Not all voters will be paying for this bond or any bond. Homeowners and property owners are the ones that will have an increase in their property taxes.
Every year property taxes go up and I’m sure many homeowners not only struggle to pay the property taxes, but are struggling to make house payments as well. This year, there is yet one more increase in property tax bills that homeowners and property owners are aware of. Effective July 1, the County of Santa Cruz is increasing sewer fees. Fees, not a tax. Taxes require voter approval, fees do not!
There is no doubt that property owners who have rentals, any tax increases or fees that are added to the rental properties tax bill, they (the property owners) will “try” to increase the rent on those properties to pay for those increases. I say “try,” because you can almost count on the occupants of those rentals screaming that they are already paying too much rent as it is. And what about the homeowners that are already struggling to pay their property taxes? They have no one to pay or help pay for increases in taxes and fees.
Even though the PV board trustees decided to reduce the bond from $190 million down to $150 million, I believe there is still cause for real concern for homeowners and property owners. According to Mr. McFadden’s comment on May 30, that estimated amounts could change, based on financing rates on the eventual loan. There is no guarantee that the estimated amount of $38 per $100,000 won’t be higher and could still add several hundred dollars to property taxes for the next 35 years.
The statement in the R-P’s Thursday edition, (“The smaller bond will cover ‘high priority’ projects such as finishing Pajaro Valley High School and technology upgrades”) I would like to know what “finishing” means. Are they talking about a sports field and swimming pool? Why wasn’t those things done 7 years ago when the school was built?
I did a little checking and guess what? Aptos High School was built in 1969. In 2002, 33 years later, a $58 million bond was passed to build a swimming pool, theater and gym at Aptos High School and gyms at Watsonville High and E.A. Hall. Aptos High survived for more than 33 years without a swimming pool and PV High School is crying because seven years have gone by and they don’t have what has taken some schools at least 30 years to get.
I agree with Sharon Gray and Mr. Moreno. Focus should be on health, safety and essential projects. Ten million dollars in upgrades at PV High School seems a bit much. If a swimming pool, sports field and multipurpose room were essentials, why weren’t they built at the time the school was built seven years ago?
Pajaro Valley Unified School District has 16 elementary schools, six middle schools, five high schools and five charter schools and I’m sure each and everyone of those schools needs repairs, replacements and upgrades. If PV High is going to be allotted or given $10 million, then it seems only right that the $140 million be divided equally ($4,516,000) between the remaining 31 schools. Sound ridiculous? Sure it does! But if PV is going to be granted their “wish” ($10 million), then the other 31 schools should be given their “wish list” as well.
I do believe that educating our children in important. They should be educated in a healthy and safe environment. Buy why should homeowners and property owners always be expected to pay for things that aren’t essential.
I also believe that if the PVUSD trustees are given $150 million, that down the road, they are going to ask the taxpayers, again, for another bond because the $150 million is gone and there are still things that need to be done.
Juanita Lawrence is a Watsonville resident.
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