I am Mark Marshall, Ed.D. You might already know me as Superintendent of Los Banos Unified School District, but today I’m reaching out to you simply as a concerned Los Banos citizen, voter, neighbor and community member.
I’m not speaking on behalf of the school district or in my capacity as superintendent. Instead, I am speaking as a person who has dedicated his career to public education and the students at the center of that mission.
Measure X is a new bond measure on the June ballot, and gives our community a rare opportunity to improve the quality of education without raising our tax rates.
How will Measure X improve the quality of education in Los Banos? Read it, and see that Measure X includes a project list. The District can only spend the money you approve on elements contained on the project list. If it’s not on the project list, your money can’t be used to pay for it. In addition, there will be a citizen’s oversight committee reviewing the district’s use of bond funds. This is how the district remains accountable to voters.
What’s on the project list?
First, Measure X will repair or replace deteriorating roofs, plumbing and electrical systems, and modernize classrooms so students can receive better instruction in science, technology, engineering, math and skilled trades. Measure X designates funding to improve safety at school pick-up and drop-off areas, upgrade emergency communications systems and more. There are also funds to rebuild Loftin Stadium, which is not just a resource for our students but the entire community.
Like the city of Los Banos, the district is growing rapidly and classrooms are getting crowded to the point that the quality of education being offered to students is suffering. Measure X provides for a new elementary school to relieve overcrowding and adds classrooms at existing schools. Measure X provides for new classroom wings at Pacheco High School and Creekside Junior High. These changes will keep class sizes manageable, and allow the district to offer all-day kindergarten to more students.
The best part about Measure X is that it will improve our schools without increasing our tax rates. This bond is structured to phase in as a previous school facilities measure is phased out. It extends existing tax rates without increasing them.
Even better, the money can’t be taken by the county or the state or used for other purposes. All funds will help our community and our students.
We all know the importance of good schools to our community. Businesses considering locating to a community look carefully at the quality of schools as an indication that educated workers will be good employees. Prospective home buyers look for good schools for their children, positively impacting real estate values. Most importantly, good schools provide children opportunities for meaningful careers, civic engagement and personal growth.
Everyone in our community, whether they have children or grandchildren attending schools in the District or not, benefit from quality schools. With the passage of Measure X, the district can fulfill its commitment to building on the current strengths of our schools and improving them. We, as voters, can continue providing young people with an education enabling them to live productive lives and strengthening our community.
If you vote in person, come to the polls on June 5. If you have an absentee ballot, make sure you submit it on time. If you haven’t registered to vote, you have until May 21.
Join me and other neighbors to help us take care of one of the most important if our community assets, our schools. Vote Yes on Measure X.
Mark E Marshall, Ed.D., Los Banos community member.