Poll worker Tracy Baker receives a ballot outside the Santa Cruz County building on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz on March 5. (Natalya Dreszer — Santa Cruz Local)

Unofficial results as of 4:05 p.m. Friday, March 22

G – Happy Valley Elementary School Parcel Tax – 2/3 to pass

  • Yes 569 (84.05%)
  • No 108 (15.95%)

H – Live Oak School District Bond – 55% to pass

  • Yes 4,464 (64.59%)
  • No 2,447 (35.41%)

I – Pacific Elementary School $1.3 Million Bond – 55% to pass

  • Yes 133 (60.73%)
  • No 86 (39.27%)

J – Pacific Elementary School $675,000 Bond – 55% to pass

  • Yes 148 (67.27%)
  • No 72 (32.73%)

SANTA CRUZ >> School measures in Live Oak and Happy Valley have been adopted by voters, according to unofficial election results March 22.

There were 125 ballots left to process countywide as of March 22. Final results are expected to be certified in early April.

Live Oak’s Measure H had 64.59% of the vote as of March 22. The measure needs more than 55% of the vote to be adopted.

In Happy Valley School District, Measure G needs more than 66.66% of the vote to be adopted and had 84.05% as of March 22.

Pacific Elementary trustees placed Measure I and Measure J on the March 5 ballot in hopes that at least one would be adopted by voters, school district leaders said. Measures I and J need more than 55% of the vote to be adopted. Both measures could be adopted.

Live Oak School District

Measure H in Live Oak School District would allow the district to issue $44 million in bonds to replace and repair school buildings and other facilities. If adopted, property owners in the district would pay about $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value annually for 30 years or until the bond is paid.

Live Oak School District faces a $2.9 million budget gap and could be taken over by state authorities unless it stabilizes its finances. Layoffs have been proposed for some teachers, administrators and other staff. 

If Measure H is adopted, its revenue can only pay for building and facilities repair. It could not legally be used for teacher or administrative salaries by state law.

Happy Valley School District

In Happy Valley School District, Measure G is an annual $99 flat-rate tax on property owners. The measure needs more than two-thirds of the vote to be adopted. 

A $99 parcel tax approved in 2018 is set to expire this year in Happy Valley. Measure G would extend the tax until 2032 and continue to raise about $61,000 annually. Because it is a parcel tax, the money could be used for staff and teacher salaries, student technology, and school programs. It would not be spent on buildings or other facilities.

The tax legally could be spent only on purposes listed in the measure. Those purposes include:

  • Supporting art and music programs.
  • Supporting classroom instruction. 
  • Integrating technology into classrooms. Purchases could include laptops, iPads, science lab materials and other technology. 
  • Attracting and retaining qualified teachers and staff. If voters approve Measure G, the district may hire an extra teacher to support math or science, Stewart said.

“Our General Fund is running at a deficit for the next three years,” said Happy Valley School District Superintendent Michelle Stewart, during the campaign. “Without the parcel tax, we just will not be able to offer the same quality.” 

Parcel tax money is held separately from the General Fund, Stewart said.

Pacific Elementary School District

Pacific Elementary School District is on the North Coast roughly from Davenport to Año Nuevo State Park. It includes one school, Pacific Elementary School.

Pacific Elementary trustees placed Measure I and Measure J on Tuesday’s ballot in hopes that at least one would be adopted by voters, school district leaders said. 

  • Measure I aims to raise $1.3 million in bonds. Property owners in the district would pay about $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value annually for 30 years or until the bond is paid off.
  • Measure J aims to raise $675,000 in bonds. Property owners in the district would pay about $18 per $100,000 of assessed property value annually for 30 years or until the bond is paid off.

Both measures need more than 55% of the vote to be adopted.

State law allows money from bond sales to be used only for purposes related to:

  • Facility construction or repair.
  • School equipment.
  • Purchase and lease of school property. 

The elementary school needs the money for urgent roof repairs, said Eric Gross, principal of Pacific Elementary and superintendent of the school district, in February. 

“As of the last rain, we had leaks in nine different places, and so we have buckets and trash cans in classrooms to catch the rain,” Gross said. In another building, steel supports are rusting through, he said.

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Stephen Baxter is a co-founder and editor of Santa Cruz Local. He covers Santa Cruz County government.