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The story goes on: Vote ‘Yes' on Measure SA

Posted: October 25, 2008 8:49 p.m.
Updated: December 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.

On Election Day Nov. 4, the people of the Santa Clarita Valley will be making their voices heard on national and statewide matters.

There is one ballot item that is uniquely ours: Measure SA, the bond initiative that continues a long-term commitment to our children and our community.

It is impossible for me to give a dispassionate argument on why we should vote "yes" on Measure SA. I am not just the president of the Board of Trustees for the William S. Hart Union High School District; I am also a lifelong resident and a product of the local schools.

When I say that our junior and senior highs are building the future, it is not election-season rhetoric. I am thankful every day for the education and direction I received at Placerita and Arroyo Seco junior highs and at Hart High School. I want students today and tomorrow to feel the same way.

Needed dollars
The Santa Clarita Valley is one of America's most desirable communities and has been the fastest-growing area in Los Angeles County.

I am proud that our schools have contributed to our way of life and positive reputation. The achievements of the Hart district are the dividends of the investments we have made, from the parents who check homework every night, to the teachers who work well past the final bell, to the construction, maintenance and upgrading of our facilities.

That's where Measure SA comes in. It will sustain the major financial investment that has brought us such powerful results over the decades.

Measure SA will continue modernization programs like those at Canyon High School, Saugus High School and Arroyo Seco Junior High School.

Hart High School, Placerita Junior High School, and Sierra Vista Junior High School now need the same efforts to take them into the 21st century.

Measure SA will bring Castaic its long-awaited high school, providing obvious benefits to Castaic students and their families while easing crowding at other high schools.

All across our large district, classroom, labs and other facilities will receive needed renovations or replacements. Time has caught up with our campuses. This measure will help us stay ahead of the curve.

Growing support
Measure SA continues to win support. Local elected officials and community groups have been adding their endorsements.

I'm excited by the recent backing from The Signal, the 34th District PTA Council, the Valley Industrial Association, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and members of Parents for Reform.

This particular support hinged on assurances of transparency regarding the spending of funds and the execution of construction and renovation projects.

Important questions were asked about Measure SA, and the Hart district listened.

The district knows that it must maintain open communications and lead the way to consensus after Measure SA's passage. $300 million is a big number. Educating our children is a big responsibility.

The Hart district should be held to the highest standards when given this level of trust.

Passing Measure SA is not the conclusion of the school bond issue; it is the beginning of an even deeper partnership between the Hart district, local business, government and the families we serve.

Measure SA is not a blank check. It is a new era of community stewardship for the district. As our state and country face uncertain economic times, we must be very certain how we will spend the bond money.

Every project, from the construction of Castaic High to the smallest refurbishment, must be well planned and carefully managed. This is no time for complacency by district officials, school administrators, or citizens.

Accountability and involvement are the watchwords as we work to deliver the educational experience our children deserve.

The story of the William S. Hart Union High School District mirrors the story of the Santa Clarita Valley - growing from humble beginnings to national recognition.

Please vote "yes" on Measure SA. The story goes on.

Gloria Mercado-Fortine is president of the William S. Hart Union High School District's Board of Trustees. Her column reflects her own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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