Board approves $348 million bond measure for November ballot

The Solano Community College governing board approved a $348 million ballot measure.

John Glidden, News Editor
August 2, 2012

Wednesday night the Solano College district governing board approved the placement of a $348 million dollar bond measure for the Nov. 6 ballot.

If approved, the bond would fund  the modernization of nursing, firefighting, and bio technology training centers, at Solano College. The money would go to replacing aging classrooms, science laboratories and libraries, upgrade instructional technology, insure that buildings meet earthquake/fire safety codes and improve energy efficiency, according to the text of the bond.

Faculty and administration salaries, pensions, and other operating expenses would not be funded by the bond.

Voting against the bond was Trustee Catherine Ritch, representing Fairfield, Travis Air Force Base, Cordelia, and Green Valley.

“I’m very troubled by this measure,” said Ritch before the vote.  “I believe that in this economy we need to be clear with the voters.”

Two members of the public also voiced disapproval of the bond measure.

George Guynn Jr. suggested that a two-thirds (66 percent) majority vote by the voters be required for the bond to pass.

Currently, the bond requires a 55 percent approval by the voters.

“How much is The Lew Edwards Group being paid?” Guynn inquired to the governing board.

Solano College governing board hired The Lew Edwards Group  to study the feasibility of a bond passing in the Nov. 2012 election.

According to the governing board minutes from the Sept. 21, 2011 meeting, the governing board approved a payment of $49,500 to The Lew Edwards Group from “redevelopment funds.”

“All of you have ganged up on this,” said Richard Giddens to the governing board.  “Exercise the space between your ears.  Stop living in this fantasy land that you’re living in.”

Despite the opposition, several members of the public expressed support for the bond measure.

Galen Tom, technology specialist at Solano College, counseled the governing board to approve the bond measure so future students, like his young child, could benefit while attending Solano College.

Laura Strand, labor representative for the Local 39 stationary engineers at Solano College, stated that local county workers would be employed, if the bond was approved by the voters in November.

“I support this bond only if it employs Solano County workers,” said Monica Brown, a local educator.  “The trustees need to be in the community in supporting the bond measure.”

Prior to the vote, Catherine Lew, president and chief executive officer of the Lew Edwards Group presented a bond measure survey.

“I found your results remarkable,” Lew said to the governing board.

According to the survey results, 600 Solano College district voters were contacted by telephone.  Sixty three percent of the 600 surveyed support the bond measure, with 32 percent indicating that they “definitely” support the bond, 24 percent “probably” support the bond, and 8 percent were undecided but leaned toward yes.

Twenty four percent of the 600 polled opposed the bond measure with 14 percent indicating that they definitely did not support the bond.

Thirteen percent of those surveyed were undecided.

“I call on an overwhelming majority of the board to place this measure on the ballot for the community’s consideration.  The future of many generations of students is at stake,” said Jowel Laguerre, superintendent-president of Solano College.

Solano College will be charged $300,000 to place the bond measure on the ballot for November, according to the Aug. 1 governing board agenda.

In 2002, Solano County voters approved Measure G in the amount of $124.5 million dollars to improve and expand the facilities of the Solano Community College District, according to the Solano College bond program website.

Oct. 22 is the last day to register to vote for the November election.

 

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