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Gregg Swenson, Capistrano Beach
As a longtime CUSD resident and a retired teacher, I urge my CUSD neighbors to vote yes on Measure M. I worked in a neighboring district for nearly four decades and witnessed firsthand many of the benefits that a well-planned and fortuitously timed bond issue can contribute to a school district. The students not only benefit from the improvements to aging structures and classrooms, but there is a sense of pride when they know their school is as good as or better than it ever was. Conversely, students suffer lapses in concentration and attention when air conditioning fails in hot weather, and they learn less when they’re crammed into structures designed for the class sizes enjoyed decades ago rather than the reality of today’s class sizes.
My own children attended CUSD schools and enjoyed some of the modest improvements brought about by the last bond issue more than a decade ago, but those “upgrades” were primarily much needed repairs necessitated by long-neglected maintenance. The benefits of Measure M would not only serve today’s students but will continue to serve generations to come.
The district has done an excellent job of polling community members, parents, students and teachers about what is needed and which schools will receive what type of improvements. Administrators and school board members conducted meetings and produced an informative website to involve and inform the community. The website and the recently received voter information booklet are quite clear on costs, expenses, specific improvements for each site and a sound argument for the urgency of passing Measure M at this time.
There is an opportunity presented by Prop. 55, which offers matching funds to any school districts in California that have passed a bond this year. If Measure M passes on Nov. 8, the district will be able to gain $229 million in state matching funds. If Measure M is not passed, voters in CUSD will still pay for an increase, but see that $229 million go to other districts.
With interest rates at all-time lows, more money can be used to pay for improvements rather than debt service.
Parting with hard-earned cash is always difficult, but there is a difference between spending and investing. Money for schools is, and always has been, an investment.
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