Guest view: Vote ‘yes’ for safe, modern schools

Measure I $900M bond vote is on March 3 ballot

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By Carol Ann Gittens

On the March 3, 2020 ballot, voters in the Morgan Hill Unified School District will have the opportunity to support our students, teachers and local schools. MHUSD classrooms are full of students ready to learn—9,000 every day at our elementary, TK-8, middle, high school and community adult school sites. 

As a trustee and current president of the MHUSD Board of Education, I ask you to reinforce the district’s ongoing commitment to provide our students with high-quality teachers and healthy, safe, modernized learning spaces.

When I was elected as a MHUSD trustee in 2018, my daughter told me that the best reason for having a mom on the school board was “because you can help the kids and fix things that need to be fixed.” I couldn’t agree more. Schools that promote health, safety and well-being are essential for a student’s learning and success. Many of our MHUSD school buildings were constructed over 40 years ago. In 2017, the district completed a Facility Master Plan outlining nearly $1 billion in upgrades and repairs across each school site. 

Measure I will provide $900 million worth of bonds to pay for upgrades to fire alarms, fire sprinklers, electrical, plumbing and security systems. Funds will be used to retrofit our classrooms and schools to meet earthquake safety standards and enhance the health, safety and accessibility of our school sites. It will help upgrade our P.E. spaces, fields, play equipment, pick up/drop off zones and parking areas.

Measure I will fund these much-needed upgrades and modernization projects to increase the health and safety of our schools.

My fellow MHUSD school board trustees and I were compelled to put a 30-year local school bond measure on the March 3 ballot to address enduring facility repair and improvement needs. A survey of the community revealed how important it is to voters who live within district boundaries to provide necessary modernization and health and safety upgrades for our schools and classrooms to attract the best and brightest teachers to our district. 

Furthermore, we felt that a 30-year bond was in the community’s best interest because our children deserve to have the best and safest schools with high-quality teachers, but voters shouldn’t be asked every 10 years to pass another school bond measure. Measure I will allow for long-term stability, planning and oversight. 

With a local school bond, the money will stay local and will be used for improving our schools. Once passed, there will be an annual independent financial and performance audit on how the funds are spent. A citizens oversight committee will be formed to assist and oversee

how the expenditures are made.

MHUSD is committed to providing high-quality education and safe schools for all students so that they are college- and career-ready in the 21st century. Measure I will allow MHUSD to attract high-quality teachers and keep them in our district. This bond will provide the necessary funds to update aging classrooms and schools to be equipped with the modern technologies essential to preparing students for their careers. 

These funds will directly benefit our students’ college and career readiness and provide exceptional career technical education by improving outdated facilities. 

I ask that you please show your support for our students and schools by voting Yes on Measure I.

Carol Ann Gittens is president of the Morgan Hill Unified School District Board of Trustees.