Opinion: Measure AA is a Great Investment, Vote Yes on AA

 

As November 6 approaches, one key measure Milpitians need to decide on is Measure AA.

Measure AA is a $248 million school bond targeted at upgrading and relieving overcrowding at Milpitas High School, making the necessary repairs and upgrades to our aging, 50+-year-old facilities, and starting the development of a second high school campus. Details can be found at our website: www.musd.org.

It is a great investment for Milpitas homeowners, Milpitas students and schools, and the community as a whole.

For homeowners, the cost of the bond is $60/$100K in assessed value, so if you have a home that is $1M in assessed value, it would be no more than $600 annually. But that is a worst case scenario number. Given that the amount of the bond is fixed at $248M, the average rise in assessed value influences the cost per $100K in assessed value. Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) has been conservative in its estimate of this number, only assuming it will rise 3.5%. But in the past few years, it has risen as high as 6%, which reduces the cost per $100K in assessed value. In fact, the current rate for homeowners for the past two Milpitas bonds is about $47.50 per $100K in assessed value. This is one of the lowest rates across Santa Clara County school districts. So today, homeowners are paying $475 (for a $1M assessed home) + $84 from the parcel tax, or $559 annually to support our schools.

For example, MUSD had estimated that it would cost the homeowner $55/$100K assessed value in our 2012 bond. And given the rise in Market Value of Milpitas homes over the last 5 years, which nearly doubled the home values (Dec 2013, $648K – Oct 2018, $1.14M, using Zillow data), we can see an awesome return. And the 1-year forecast to September, 2019, is nearly 16%.

By the way, you probably are paying less, as most homes in Milpitas are at less than the $1 million assessed value used in this example, especially if you have a Prop 13 freeze on your home.

For our schools, this bond will enable us to address many key areas. Overcrowding at Milpitas High School is first and foremost. We need to replace “beyond useful life” portables with a two-story classroom building to ensure that we have safe and functional learning spaces going forward. A new theatre to allow our complete band to practice and play as a group will offer our students the chance to really show the community what they can do. Our award-winning theatre department will be able to show you uplifting performances. And the design and building of a second high school campus will allow for additional hands-on experiences that will prepare our students for 22nd-century jobs.

This bond will also allow us to address safety and security at all our campuses. Our 50+-year-old facilities have areas and spaces that are beyond repair and need to be replaced. This investment in our facilities will allow us to serve all of our students for years to come.

For our students, this investment in learning spaces and usable classrooms means more opportunities to come together for more hands-on learning, and learning without working around spacial and other physical constraints. The quality of the learning opportunity will be upgraded, and we hope that the experience will thus become more valuable.

And for the community, we are all familiar with the axiom that good schools contribute to strong communities. We’re excited to see our schools continue to grow. And our city’s culture of “we” helps new families to feel at home. Anecdotally, we are aware of the attractiveness of Milpitas for Bay Area families. We are one of two school districts that are anticipating growth, compared to other districts which face reductions. The growth of this community also presents opportunities for businesses to come and serve our city. As long as we manage our growth carefully, Milpitas can be one of the best cities in the Bay Area.

So, join me and our families in voting Yes on Measure AA. It is a great investment for all of Milpitas. Let’s give a YES vote for every single student in our district!

If you have further questions, you are welcome to contact me at: rhjung@gmail.com

 

 

Robert Jung 

MUSD School Board Trustee 

 

 

Chart A. Zillow 5-year Market Overview for Milpitas

Chart B. Milpitas Bond Tax Rate as compared to Neighboring School Districts

 

 

 

 

 

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