School leaders and supporters in California and Monterey County reacted jubilantly to news that most ballot measures aimed at boosting funding for schools passed.
Except for a parcel tax measure in Pacific Grove, school bonds in Monterey County were overwhelmingly approved in Tuesday's election. Proposition 30, which will balance California's budget and keep schools and universities from making more severe cuts, was approved by three out of five voters in the county, and received the more than 50 percent of the statewide vote needed to be implemented.
Trustees, teachers and staff at Monterey Peninsula College "are gratified by this statement of support from Californians," MPC President Doug Garrison said in a statement. "Passage of Proposition 30 will provide the college a more reasonable cash flow because a portion of what the state owes us will be paid on time. These funds do not reflect any increase."
Garrison added that "MPC will not be adding many additional students — we simply won't be eliminating students or programs."
Administrators in the Gonzales Unified School District posted a happy message on their Facebook page: "Thank you to all who worked to protect our schools! Prop 30 passed! Congratulations to all our fellow Districts where local school bonds received overwhelming support from the public! Great job everyone and thank you for supporting our students and the hard working, dedicated staff in all our schools.
News was not as cheerful in Pacific Grove, where Measure A, which would levy a $65 annual parcel tax, seems headed to defeat. So far, it's only garnering 65 percent of the vote, when it needs almost 67 percent to be approved.
"In my mind, I want to know what happened, if people did not have an interest or did not understand" the measure, said Pacific Grove Unified School District Superintendent Ralph Porras.
Measure A would extend and expand an existing parcel tax due to expire next year, which gives administrators time to regroup and figure out what the next step is, Porras said.
"The good thing is that we went out early, so we have an opportunity to assess the situation now and try to determine how we'll deal with the loss of those funds," he said.
Good thing Prop. 30 passed, he said.
"That's huge, that's tremendous. We don't have to reduce $915,000," Porras said. "We don't have to cut anything, but we don't get any new money. It'll keep us in status quo, and we're grateful for it."
Measure L in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District coasted to an easy victory with almost 66 percent of the vote. Bonds need a 55 percent approval rate.
The $150 million bond will be used for classroom updates that range from fixing leaky roofs to rewiring classrooms for technology upgrades.
The measure will cost property owners $38 per $100,000 assessed value. About 20 percent of Pajaro Valley Unified's territory is in Monterey County, although only about 12 percent of the voters in the district live in that area.
Voters in the Spreckels Union School District supported their bond with 59 percent approval. Measure B will raise $7 million for upgrades that range from roofs to technology.
"We are thrilled with the outcome of Measure B and what it will allow us to provide for our students," Superintendent Eric Tarallo said. "We would like to extend thanks to the entire community for their support of our schools and students. A dedicated campaign committee worked tirelessly to make this happen."
In the Salinas Valley, voters in the Soledad Unified School District decisively approved a $40 million bond that required a supermajority to pass. The money will be used to build a middle school.
The latest count as of Wednesday reported Measure C with 74 percent of the vote, a percentage that has been increasing since early returns put it at 71 percent.
"We're pretty excited," said Lucio Rios, chair of the Measure C campaign. "But it's not final yet."
Claudia Meléndez Salinas can be reached at 753-6755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.