The Star-News

Excellence begins with E

Sat, Nov 03 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Francisco Escobedo, Ed.d.

Since November 2010, it has been my privilege to serve as superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District. But today, I am writing not as the District’s superintendent but as a private citizen.

Of the many wonderful things I have learned about over the past 24 months, the most gratifying is how passionate the residents of Chula Vista are about our local elementary schools. Over and over, I hear people tell me how our schools are our most important asset and that they must remain our number one priority.

Proposition E on the Nov. 6 ballot will allow the District to make substantial improvements to the educational environment at our neediest school campuses. In order to make sure Proposition E funds are spent at these schools, School Facilities Improvement District No. 1 was created to include 31 of CVESD’s oldest schools. Most of these schools were built in the middle of the last century. Thus, these schools did not have the benefit of the energy efficiency, infrastructure, and technology found in newer schools in other areas of the District, financed by special taxes levied on newly developing areas.

If approved by voters, Proposition E will cost taxpayers less than $2.45 per month per $100,000 of assessed valuation, and will provide $90 million to be invested in:

• Upgrading computer labs and classrooms with wireless technology,
• Repairing and modernizing aging classrooms and school facilities,
• Replacing temporary classrooms that have exceeded their useful life with new permanent structures,
• Improving student safety by installing additional lighting, fencing, and security equipment, and
• Installing energy cost saving systems.

Of equal importance, Proposition E comes with strong taxpayer protections including:
• Ironclad restrictions that no funds can be spent on administrator salaries, benefits or pensions,
• Annual reviews of all expenditures by an independent citizens’ oversight committee, and
• Legally required annual audits of all spending.

More importantly, all Proposition E funds can only be used to improve our community’s schools and cannot be taken by the State and spent elsewhere. All of the monies raised from Proposition E can only be spent to make improvements on facilities within SFID No.1. Because there is no financial impact (or benefit) to property owners in Mello-Roos communities, only residents in the non-Mello-Roos portion of the District will be able to vote on Proposition E.

Proposition E will improve our classrooms. Our focus on fiscal responsibility resulted in endorsements of Proposition E by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce.

I strongly support Proposition E. As a lifelong educator, I share the passion of Chula Vista’s citizens in keeping our schools strong and fulfilling the promise to our children that they will receive the best education possible.
Please join me in voting ‘Yes’ on Proposition E!

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