Goleta Union School District’s Measure M is a huge amount of money: $80 million with a grand total estimate of $130,607,170 due to principal and interest debt service.
Property owners will be stuck with increases in their property tax bill until 2046-47.
Meanwhile, Proposition 15 is lurking in the background as the first attempt in the ultimate goal of increasing property tax.
Included in the items on which Measure M money will be spent are solar panels and bioswales. These unnecessary items do not yield a high educational value for the dollar spent. Every tax dollar is someone else’s hard earned money and should never be spent carelessly.
Measure M is not in the long-term best interest of the community.
When homeowners have less money, that means less money to spend on home maintenance, like landscaping, new paint, gutters, windows, a new garage door, etc. Houses begin to look dilapidated and run down, and over the years, the neighborhood gradually loses its once tidy and well maintained appearance.
Nobody likes to be treated unfairly. Property owners, who do not live in the district, do not have students in Goleta schools, do not even get to vote on Measure M, and receive little or no benefit from it, yet they still have to pay the tax! Taxes like Measure M are inherently unfair and are what cause the tax base to move to a place where they are treated fairly.
We need to look for already existing revenue sources within the district’s budget, which can be used for urgently needed repairs. Then, budget wisely for the future, gradually addressing the less urgent repairs and upgrades as money becomes available, thus beginning the difficult leadership work of exercising true fiscal responsibility.
Constant funding of a reserve budget, in anticipation of repairs and upgrades, avoids the need to have to waste even more money, in this case about $50 million in the purchase of an $80 million bond.
It is during times like this when schools districts face the biggest risk of going into debt, starting a cascade of negative consequences. It is more important than ever to elect judicious and prudent, common-sense conservatives to the Goleta Union School District, who understand the importance of fairness, fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets.
Of course we all want good schools and a great education for the students in our community.
However, when taxes become too excessive, with wasteful and careless spending like Measure M, our community will slowly lose its property owning middle-class tax base and the entire community will suffer and that includes schools. This situation has happened repeatedly in other cities and is a very difficult one from which to recover.
Let’s not go down that path. Vote “no” on Measure M .
The author is a Goleta resident and a candidate for the Goleta Union School District board.