Hoots of happiness were heard around 8:30 on Tuesday night after school board members, staff and parents opened the Los Angeles County Registrar’s website to see that 63.35 percent of the Redondo Beach community voted yes for Measure Q, above the 55 percent threshold required to pass.
“I think we all had an anxious night awaiting all the precincts, making sure the early signs were right and it was definitely going to pan out,” said Redondo Beach Unified School District assistant superintendent Annette Alpern.
“We saved our schools!” was shouted as hugs and high-fives flew around the room at the Measure Q party in North Redondo.
“It’s good we passed Q because of the financial crisis the state handed down to us,” said PTA President Polly Kinsinger. “It relieves the general fund… and is about providing opportunities for all students at every school.”
The $63 million bond will help the district upgrade its technology infrastructure, create an endowment to upgrade current and future technology and install solar panels at all schools to help save $500,000 just from electricity savings and a total savings of $2.2 from the general fund annually.
“I feel great,” said School Board Vice President Laura Emdee. “The outlook for Redondo is very optimistic. For the first time in years we can actually focus on how to better educate the kids and how to continually improve on the path we’re going on.”
State Proposition 30 also passed with 54 percent voting yes, overwhelmingly winning over Molly Munger’s Proposition 38 that on Wednesday morning only had 27.7 percent of the votes. Proposition 30’s quarter-percent tax-hike will generate $6 billion in revenue for the next four years and raise tax on incomes over $250,000 for the next seven years. It will help to avert drastic cuts, but for Redondo Beach and many other districts, the passing of Proposition 30 only means flat funding.
“30’s going to save us this year, that’s the bottom line,” said Emdee. “We no longer have to have the 12 furlough days. But with 30 we didn’t get more money, all it did was save us from being cut. It’s not suddenly that we’re flush with money, but with Q next year we’ll have a $2.2 million buffer. Again, that’s a another temporary situation, so what we need to do is make sure our district is financially healthy, which means building a reserve so we can make sure we can weather any funding inconsistency in the future.”
Alpern said that now the school district needs to sit down with teachers and vendors to really look at the technology programs that Measure Q makes possible to put in place.
“We have the ideas, and now it’s just a matter of having the meetings,” Alpern said. “For instance if we’re looking at the future of digital books, what’s the best way to roll that future out? Is it the E-readers? Are they web-based open-source books? Is it a combination? I think it’s going to allow us to be able to make happen things that we’ve been talking about for years. I think it’s a sign that the public trusts and believes in public education. It’s validating for some of us who have committed our lives to educating kids.” ER