Sequoia bond will likely go to ballot

As locals line up to vote in the February 2008 presidential primary, they’ll also likely be asked to approve a new $165 million bond to support high-tech and career-training programs in the Sequoia High School District.

As proposed, the new bond would pay for a vast array of construction and program equipment — everything from new computers at all the schools to interactive “smart boards” to replace outdated chalkboards and whiteboards — aimed at giving students a cutting-edge education, said Chief Business Official Ed LaVigne. Sequoia’s boardof trustees is set to vote on the ballot measure tonight.

“I think we’re going forward with it,” said trustee Gordon Lewin. “When we surveyed the public, it turned out that they were interested in the same things we’re interested in — and when they found out what the cost would be, the support went up.”

The new property-tax assessment for the bond would kick off at $9.83 per $100,000 of assessed value and never exceed $9.99. It requires 55 percent approval to pass.

When polled, 75 percent of local voters said they would approve the bond if it paid for up-to-date classroom technology, and nearly 75 percent supported a bond that would pay for career technical education — schooling that prepares students for the work world — LaVigne said.

The influx of cash should help the district ditch the “old boat-anchors, those slow computers with no memory that run Windows 98,” LaVigne said. Those could become replaced by laptops — while the older machines could possibly be loaned out to students who don’t have computers at home.

District leaders are examining what kinds of career technical programs to introduce, though most of the high schools want biotechnology training. Other possibilities include health-services training, including nursing, as well as information technology, network maintenance and other computer skills, Lavigne said.

The Sequoia High School District Board meets today at 5:30 p.m. at the district offices, 480 James Ave., Redwood City.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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