Chamber Votes Yes for Education

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The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce & Convention-Visitors Bureau Board of Directors has voted to support both Measure A (parcel tax for Santa Clara Unified School District) and the West Valley-Mission Community College District Bond Measure.

“Education is a key component to the success of business in Santa Clara and the Silicon Valley.  As our state government continues to raid local dollars to balance the budget, the schools have to find a means to fill the growing funding gap,” said Steve Van Dorn, President & CEO of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce & CVB.  “The Chamber understands our school districts need to maintain funding levels in order to provide the quality education that our employers demand.  As a result, Santa Clara Unified School District and the West Valley Mission Community College District are now in the position of asking tax payers to support their programs through these measures.”

Measure A is a local five-year school tax measure placed on the May 8, 2012 “Mail Ballot Only” election by the Santa Clara Unified School District’s Governing Board.  If approved, it will provide approximately $2.3 million per year in local education funding to maintain core academic programs in math, science and technology, keep school libraries open, attract and retain the most qualified teachers and support staff, provide up-to-date classroom technology, textbooks and instructional materials, and maintain manageable class sizes.

Due to continued uncertainty and reductions in educational funding, SCUSD has been forced to reduce the number of instructional days and teacher positions. Over the last ten years, SCUSD schools have lost $35 million in support from state and local property tax sources. Class sizes at all levels have increased, elementary music programs have been cut, support staff has been reduced, and summer school and other intervention programs have been eliminated. In addition, SCUSD has depleted nearly all of its reserve funds to deal with this ongoing budget situation. Measure A will provide stable local funding needed to help protect quality education in our neighborhood schools.  Without Measure A, SCUSD will decrease instructional time, eliminate many teaching positions and radically reduce library time.

The West Valley-Mission Community College District Board of Trustees has placed a local higher education funding measure on the June, 5 2012 ballot to ensure local students continue to have access to high quality, affordable higher education at West Valley and Mission Colleges.  The bond measure includes funds to update academic facilities and technology to prepare students for 21st century jobs/transfer to universities, upgrade healthcare, public safety and job-training facilities, and aging buildings for earthquake safety.  It would also provide funding for acquiring, constructing, repairing and equipping sites, buildings, classrooms and facilities in the West Valley-Mission Community College District.

“West Valley and Mission College face significant challenges with aging and deteriorating classrooms and buildings that need basic maintenance, repairs and technology updates” said Chancellor John E. Hendrickson. “A local bond measure will help repair and replace leaky roofs, heating, cooling, plumbing and electricity throughout the aging college campuses.”

The measure includes a Citizens’ Oversight Committee and independent annual audits to ensure all funds are being spent as promised with no money for administrator’s salaries.  The independent citizens’ oversight committee will monitor spending and ensure that all funds are being spent as promised.

For more information on Measure A, please call (619) 997-7467, and for more information on the West Valley-Mission Community College Bond Measure, please visit their website at http://www.wvm.edu.

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