Merced School Bond | Measure M

October 9, 2008 8:35:56 PM PDT
The Merced Union High School District is asking voters to approve a nearly 150 million dollar bond this November.District officials say the bond would be used to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and to complete unfinished campuses. But some voters say this is the wrong time to raise taxes.

From added classrooms to finished stadiums to new playing fields and pools, each of Merced Union High School District's campuses stand to gain something from the 149 million dollar bond proposal known as Measure M. But the big ticket item is a whole new school.

Scott Scambray MUHSD Superintendent said, "The new school will be built in the Bellevue area, and it will reduce overcrowding at Golden Valley and Merced High School. If the bond does not pass, we would be forced to re-boundary and ship students to the Atwater area to cover the overcrowding."

Superintendent Scott Scambray says polls have shown a strong majority of voters support Measure M. But the district's last attempt to pass a similar bond in 2006 failed by about three percentage points. And now some people say the struggling economy will keep them from backing this bond.

Desmond Flynn said, "We have to identify something that can be reduced before we can keep going forward with more expenditures. We just don't have all of the funds we need, but then none of us do. Which family has more money than it needs?"

Measure M would raise property taxes by no more than 30 dollars per 100 thousand dollars of assessed property values through 2013. But Scambray says the district can't afford to wait any longer.

Scambray said, "If we wait 2 or 3 years to pass a bond, all of our construction costs are going to go up considerably and we're going to be spending 12-15 million dollars more of taxpayers' money to do the things that have to be done."

And some voters say the schools must be a priority even when times are tough.

Robert Ludwig said, "Personally I'll pay it because of education, but I wouldn't be happy about it."

Measure M requires a 55 percent yes vote to pass.

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