On September 10, 2019 I attended a school board meeting. I was surprised that not all members of the public were allowed to speak during public forum. Seems like their first amendment rights were suppressed. The fact is, they are taxpaying stakeholders which should have guaranteed them that right. Not sure if the President of the Board knew that it was not legal to deny them the right to speak, but I have a more pressing issue.
In 2018 I fully supported and endorsed Measure AA, which is the school bond that passed by a overwhelming 71% voter approval. I voted and supported the bond because like many residents I felt that our city warranted the need for another comprehensive High School for our growing city. Looking at some of the old literature distributed by the School district bond committee it stated that a YES on the bond would relieve overcrowding and add a second high school campus.
Some reasons why people voted for the bond are :
- Residents are tired of fighting gridlock traffic near the high school every single day when parents are taking and picking up their child to the only high school in town, which many have to travel clear across town.
- Neighborhoods near the High school are stressed out from all the traffic congestion impacting their neighborhood streets.
- Many students complain that they don’t have enough time to eat any lunch because the cafeteria lines are too long.
- Many parents want their children near their home in case of any emergency.
- With a student body of over 3200 students, many students excessively wait for any academic counseling at MHS and also the issue of over crowded classrooms as stated in the bond language.
The first phase of the $284,000,000.00 bond money has been spent on school site improvements, which seem warranted. From my understanding the next phases are the arhitectual designs which include the modernization and upkeep of school sites, Milpitas High school and the creation of Ayer Educational Park, to be an extension of Milpitas High School.
My fear is that we will never have another opportunity to build another comprehensive high school in our city. A comprehensive high school is 9 through 12 grades. Ayer Educational Park is not currently planned as a comprehensive High School and the public is still not clear what it will entail.
I supported and endorsed the bond because rebuilding Samuel Ayer High School would be the most cost effective site for another high school. The infrastructure is already in place, a city/school joint partnership agreement to use the sports facilities could be agreed upon, The school can built up and out and move any underground utilities and move the district administration office elsewhere, perhaps at some of the properties they own or lease.
The district needs to fulfill what the voters asked them to do. I and many voters were under the impression that the district was going to build a comprehensive High school from the literature they put out in 2018 elections. They conveniently left out the word comprehensive. Were the residents duped when they voted for the bond?
I, in the future will not likely vote for another property tax bond for the school district. I feel that $284 million is a very substantial amount of money to add another comprehensive high school since it reconstructs an existing high school, not building a new one from scratch.
The school district needs to do a better job of explaining to the voters that the “new planned high school” is NOT going to be a comprehensive high school but rather an Education Park.
I am exercising my First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech as a citizen of this city and appealing to the school district to address my and resident’s concerns. We the tax payers will be paying for this bond for a very, very long time and we entrust those we elect to do the right thing.
Councilmember Carmen Montano