By Cliff Mathieson
Cuesta’s Board of Trustees has officially decided to go ahead with a $275 million bond measure. The bond will primarily pay for new classroom space and repairs, but portions of the funding will also go to upgrading the school’s technology and retiring old debt accrued from the CPAC project.
Over the last semester, the board has been sure to stress that it didn’t want this bond to follow in the footsteps of the failed $310 million measure in 2006. According to the board, one of the major reasons the 2006 bond was rejected was that voters felt it was too expensive. The trustees decided to scale the 2014 bond from the proposed $343 million to a more modest $275 million to make sure they did not make that mistake twice.
Toni Sommers, who headed a team to explore the viability of the bond, was careful to focus this year’s measure on what local voters would support. Early on in the process, Sommers made a push to contact 1,000 members of the community and get their feedback on the proposed bond so that the measure could be molded and tweaked to be the most appealing to the largest number of voters.
Cuesta will be in hot water if the voters reject this bond, according to the board. Due to a state education code, Cuesta’s portables have to be retrofitted or demolished by Sept. 2015.
As it stands now, the school has no viable way to relocate the over 60,000 square feet of classes and offices that were housed by the portables.
The bond will cost property owners $19.45 per $100,000 of assessed property value. Voters will ultimately decide the fate of the measure this November.