Contributed by the Soquel Union Elementary School District:
The Soquel Union Elementary School District (SUESD) Board voted unanimously to place a local education funding measure on the May 7, 2013 all-mail ballot to provide stable funding for core academic programs like reading, writing, math and science, as well as retain highly-qualified teachers in Soquel and Capitola neighborhood elementary and middle schools.
“We are committed to providing our students with an excellent education. We have great teachers, a supportive community and a focus on core academics that support student achievement. It is clear though, we need a stable source of local funding to help protect and advance our academic programs, retain our highly qualified teachers and keep our schools safe and clean,” said Soquel Union Elementary School District Superintendent Henry Castaniada.
Since 2008, Soquel and Capitola schools have experienced $1.3 million in cuts due to state reductions in education funding, which has resulted in increased class sizes, reductions to art and music programs and cuts to school library services.
“It is clear we cannot rely on the State to provide the funding our schools need. This measure will help protect our core academic programs, maintain advanced math and science programs and help support smaller class sizes. Every penny from this measure will benefit SUESD students and can’t be taken away by the State,” stated Judy McGooden, president of the Soquel Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees.
If approved by voters with a 67% vote, the measure would retain highly-qualified teachers, support smaller class sizes, libraries, technology, art and music programs, and help keep schools safe and clean. The measure includes fiscal accountability measures, including citizen oversight and annual reports to the community to ensure funds are spent as promised. No money could be used to fund administrators’ salaries.
The measure would cost property owners $90 per year for eight years and includes an exemption for senior citizen homeowners.
“Stable funding that cannot be taken by the State is the only way we can ensure to maintain strong student achievement. I have already started working with a group of volunteers to start the campaign for this measure,” said Troy Chasey, a parent at Soquel Elementary School.
All registered voters in the Soquel Union Elementary School District will receive their ballot by mail in early April. Ballots must be received by the Santa Cruz County Registrar of Voters by May 7 to be counted.
Would you pay $90 per year for eight years to fund local schools? Tell us in the comments!