June ballot to include G.O. Bond

March 9, 2014 — by Gitika Nalwa and Helen Wong

During its meeting on Feb. 25, the district board decided to include the $99 million General Obligation bond on the June 3 ballot.

Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District residents will be able to vote on the bond, which aims to renovate both Saratoga and Los Gatos High. It is estimated that $55 million would be allocated for Los Gatos and $44 million for Saratoga.

During its meeting on Feb. 25, the district board decided to include the $99 million General Obligation bond on the June 3 ballot.

Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District residents will be able to vote on the bond, which aims to renovate both Saratoga and Los Gatos High. It is estimated that $55 million would be allocated for Los Gatos and $44 million for Saratoga.

If the bond is approved by 55 percent of registered voters in the district, then the board will issue bonds in two-year intervals over the next 20 years. These bonds will fund projects at both schools.

Superintendent Bob Mistele is “very excited about the opportunity this provides for [the] district to improve the teaching and learning environment for everyone involved – teachers, staff and students.”

Principal Paul Robinson said that because $99 million “does not cover all the projects both schools could do,” the school needs to use the bond money strategically.

“We could do so much more on our campus,” Robinson said. “[Now], we have to prioritize.”

At the moment, the school’s priorities include: renovations that will improve student safety; upgrades to heating, air conditioning and ventilation; a new multi-purpose facility; athletic facility improvements; additions to theater and music facilities; modernization of the cafeteria; energy management and conservation, including solar use; creating classroom space for expanding programs, including the robotics program and the Media Arts Program, and relocating the music department to a more convenient location near the McAfee Center.

Students must carry heavy and expensive instruments back and forth all the way across campus between the music department and the McAfee, before and after performances.

“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have the [music department] way over there,” Robinson said. “Building something that is as close to the theater as possible would be ideal.

Robinson said that one idea calls for the leveling of the office building.

“We would then build a new music building structure on that piece of land,” Robinson said.

Robinson believes that the new building would not only be more spacious, but would also save students an unnecessarily long and grueling trek to the theater.

These projects are being examined by a team of teachers, administrators, parents and the school’s student-run Green Team.

The projects were outlined in the Facility Master Plan, Executive Summary — presented to the district board on Feb. 4th and available on the district website.

Robinson believes that anything “that makes the classroom more comfortable for students” is a priority. Although the school renovated many classrooms with the 1998 bond, it could not renovate all of its classrooms. In fact, several classrooms are still using a system that was built in the 1950s.

“[This system] is neither efficient nor adequate for what we are trying to do,” Robinson said.

The school aims to bring these classrooms “up to code.”

Robinson notes that the administration has “many different priorities that need to be addressed.” In order to do so, the administrators will receive assistance from a design team that will “help them do things in a good [and] logical order.”

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