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Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Milpitas Unified School DistrictThe Milpitas Beat endorses Measure E

The Milpitas Beat endorses Measure E

The Milpitas Beat hereby endorses Measure E.

The measure will appear on this June’s election ballot. It needs 66.7% of the public’s vote to pass. Voting Yes on Measure E means voting for a parcel tax that will allow Milpitas schools to increase their number of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math) programs without raising residents’ taxes overall. And increasing these programs will lead to a natural increase in teachers (more on this in a moment).

Each year, Milpitas schools already receive money for their varied programs. The first parcel tax passed in 2010. In 2014, it got renewed. Both times, the amount was $84, charged to every property owner in Milpitas via their property taxes. (Although specific residents over a certain age, living on a fixed income, and/or living with disabilities will not get hit.)

This time, the amount will still be $84, and the passage of Measure E will carry until 2030. Taxing $84 per city property will lead to approximately $1.6 million being put toward MUSD STEAM programs, while also strengthening current reading and writing programs. All the money would be subject to local control; none of it could be taken by the State. Meanwhile, all use of the funds would be subject to oversight by independent citizens, complete with annual audits and reports to the community. 

In a recent Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) vote, the School Board voted 4-1 (4 Yes, 1 Abstain) for the District to pursue the parcel tax. 

Measure E stands to not only be good for programs, but for the District’s current teacher shortage. Reason being, as new programs get launched, new teachers are required to come help lead them. So the programs are a way to facilitate fresh staffing. 

New STEAM programs would be seen at every elementary school site across Milpitas, with additional STEAM-related programs at other sites, as well. On the contrary, if the community votes No, not only will new STEAM programs be prevented, existing programs will be subject to elimination. 

Said Board Vice President Christopher Norwood to The Beat about Measure E: “It’s good for schools. It’s good for the community. It’s good for the economy.”

In other words, teaching MUSD students STEAM-related skills will ready them for employment with local tech companies after they graduate. The programs stand to make Milpitas kids “Bay Area-ready” (Norwood’s words). 

In addition, a Yes vote on Measure E is essentially a vote of confidence for Milpitas teachers. A Yes vote says the community believes in and supports its teachers, and wants them to be operating at their best. It’s thus an investment not only in Milpitas students, but in MUSD itself.

So this June, when you receive your ballot, vote Yes on Measure E. 

Learn more about the benefits of the measure here.

Note: This article has been updated with a correction to the year the first parcel tax was passed.

 

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Paid for by Evelyn Chua for Milpitas City Council FPPC#1470209spot_img
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Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer & filmmaker. As a screenwriter, he’s won a Fade In Award and written numerous feature films in development by companies including WWE, Mandalay Sports Media, Game1, and Select Films. He is also the resident script doctor for Rebel Six Films (producers of A&E’s “Hoarders”). As a journalist, Eric’s won a California Journalism Award and is co-owner and editor of The Milpitas Beat, a Silicon Valley newspaper with tens of thousands of monthly readers that has won the Golden Quill Award as well as the John Swett Award for Media Excellence. As a filmmaker, Eric’s directed award-winning feature films that have premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and Shriekfest, and been endorsed by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Eric’s apocalyptic novella “It’s Only Temporary” appears next to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” on Nightmare Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Horror Novels of All Time. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Rhoda, and their two sons.

1 COMMENT

  1. Besides the STEAM Showcase, Robotics Club, and other things not led by regular classroom teachers, Milpitas Unified is all talk around STEAM. Milpitas has the weakest Computer Science program in the Bay Area and their elementary and middle school teachers are afraid to teach it. MHS APCS is basic. North Dakota has better CS programs at their schools. Look at their website. There is no one dedicated to lead CS. Who are they kidding? Just out of curiosity, I dug a little deeper and viewed board meetings. There is a LOT of emphasis around mental health even before the pandemic and they have more mental health managers than science and technology people. It seems like the only person at the board table with any real STEAM is Chris Norwood. The district leaders have history and English backgrounds and all talk around STEAM. Get the right people to drive the bus and then I’ll jump on. Otherwise, I’m voting NO.

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