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Our View: Vote yes on Measure CK

Posted: May 20, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 20, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Many Santa Clarita Valley institutions, nonprofits and individuals make us proud here at The Signal, but few more so than our remarkable and high-achieving public schools.

Dedicated educators touch our children's lives every day, imparting hope, kindling ambition and widening horizons for our youngsters.

This week and next, we will enjoy the fruits of their labors as we watch more than 4,770 William S. Hart Union High School graduates walk forward and accept diplomas from one of the most successful high school districts in the state.

But the fruits of their success are often planted in the less-celebrated primary and elementary school districts, one of which is Sulphur Springs School District in Canyon Country.

Despite the ongoing state budget cuts and persistently increasing expectations facing all California public schools, Sulphur Springs has made remarkable progress.

Sulphur Springs School District students have achieved 832 on the state's Academic Performance Index, higher than the statewide goal of 800. The school district's API score has been on a steady increase, gaining 11 points in the last two years.

Sulphur Springs also boasts a strong reputation for meeting the needs of its English-language learners and students who come from low-income homes.

This year, the Sulphur Springs School District counted 158 students who achieved the level of "English proficient" after years of specialized instruction and intervention programs. The number was a 40-student gain from last year.

On June 5, Sulphur Springs will ask Canyon Country residents to approve Measure CK, a school bond measure to repair decaying school buildings, upgrade classroom and library technology, replace aging and inefficient heating and air conditioning units, and modernize a 40-year-old structure that serves severely disabled students.

Supporters of Measure CK point out:

- It's been more than 22 years since Canyon Country voters last imposed a Sulphur Springs bond obligation on themselves. That obligation, which amounts to $90 to $100 per $100,000 valuation of property, expires in 2017.

- Measure CK would not take effect until the previous bond measure has expired or been paid off. Measure CK would impose a maximum $30 obligation per $100,000 valuation on property, which means residents' school bond measure obligation would drop under Measure CK.

Unlike most other school bond measures considered and approved by Santa Clarita Valley residents, Measure CK has drawn some opposition - one Canyon Country dad who is critical of the school bond process and maintains Sulphur Springs schools are just fine the way they are.

Supporters of Measure CK agree that school bonds are costly but say they have no less costly choices.

And they point out school bond measures approved under the Proposition 29 umbrella offer residents a number of protections from abuse:

- The measure must receive a 55 percent majority to pass;

- spending of the money is monitored by a citizens' oversight committee representing the community's interests;

- every penny of bond money would go to Sulphur Springs. The state cannot seize funds from this source, as it has from other government coffers;

- and funds cannot be used for administrators' salaries, pensions or benefits.

As for the critic's other claim - that Sulphur Springs schools are fine the way they are - all one needs to do is stop by Pinetree Community School, which is crammed with decaying portables, or call and make an appointment to visit Valley View's 40-year-old facility for severely handicapped children - to know things aren't fine the way they are.

Canyon Country's children deserve better.

We urge voters within the Sulphur Springs School District to vote "yes" on Measure CK June 5.




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