|Push to approve Measure D begins
Parcel tax measure to help CRPUSD students, teachers
Teachers, parents and students have a June 5 target date circled on their calendars.
The Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District has Measure D on the primary ballot and there’s a lot hanging in the balance on its outcome, for this is a parcel tax measure and requires a two-thirds vote of approval to succeed.
It’s easy to say, “Oh, no, not another school bond.” The big difference is school bonds can only be used to build new schools or refurbish existing classrooms or schoolyards. Parcel tax measures on the ballot can only be used for instructional programs for students, increasing art, music and vocational programs and boosting school library hours, for example. What’s more, school bonds merely need a simple majority to pass; parcel tax measures need a two-thirds yes vote to pass.
It’s quite a hurdle to leap over these days when the national economy’s struggling to climb out of a recession, but as Susan Hollingsworth Adams, co-chair of the Measure D organizers, indicated, a child’s education should not be crippled by outside economic forces.
“Look, a parcel tax works out to about seven or eight dollars a month for a typical family and it automatically ends in five years,” she said in a recent interview.
“Funds from Measure D can only be used for vital classroom teaching roles like reading, writing, math and science programs, keeping campus libraries open, enhancing art and music programs and job-training classes, attracting and retaining qualified
teachers,” she added. “These are the basic roots of education for kids and have been so for hundreds of years.”
Their campaign has taken on a busier basis with more and more community involvement, not only teachers, administrators, students and their parents, but the school district’s business forces have joined the project. Phone banks have been set up, thanks to the cooperation of Remax Realty in Rohnert Park.
“We figure the school district has about 24,000 registered voters in its borders, and the usual June primary ballot sees about 10,500 of ‘em going to the polls,” said Adams. “That means we’ll need a little more than 7,000 ‘yes’ votes.”
Adams and her co-chair, Jennifer Wiltermood of Remax Realty are optimistic the votes needed are ample in proportion to the impact Measure D will have on the future of all the local students from kindergarten to teens in Rancho Cotate High School and the Technical High School. They have plans to phone contact the vast majority of school district voters.
Both Adams and Wiltermood have a strong local angle in this campaign. Adams moved to RP with her parents when they moved here in 1961. She was three years old then. Art Hollingsworth set up an insurance agency and later became a city councilman and mayor. Susan graduated from John Reed, RP Junior High and Rancho Cotate and earned a degree at Brigham Young University. She and her husband, Sean, have three sons at Evergreen school, aged 11, 8 and 7.
Wiltermood is the granddaughter of Pete Callinan, the city’s first mayor and city manager.
“We’re getting strong support from school district administrators, Stacie Allen, president of the teachers’ union, and the entire school board. Our phone banks are working Monday through Thursday evenings with volunteers doing their best to reach all potential voter,” said Adams.