Measure E ‘improper use of taxes’

EDITOR: We have a sixth-grade student at Adele Harrison Middle School, and a ninth-grade student at Sonoma Valley High – both in after school athletics. We completely agree with the “Open Letter to the Community” from Gary and Marcia Nelson on page A5 in the Sept. 5 Sonoma Index-Tribune.

We feel that the vote was not transparent - if given the choice to vote again, I would vote “no” now that I know of the imbalance in the funding, and wait for an appropriately focused bond measure to be proposed in the future.

Measure E as it stands is improper use of our community taxes. All the facilities listed by the Nelsons should be funded before any consideration is made to extracurricular activity facilities.

I won’t even begin in on the discussion on all of the problems a large athletic facility would bring to our neighborhood, but it would cause many problems and cost our neighborhood dearly.

Proper fundamentals should be our focus. I hope the Board of Trustees makes the necessary changes to use our taxes where they best serve all of the students and their families in our district, not just a select few.

Stewart Saunders


Hold School Board accountable

EDITOR: To the Board of Trustees: Board President, Dan Gustafson, Nicole Ducarroz, Britta Johnson, John Kelly, Sal Picazo Chavez.

I am writing in support of the concern and appropriate prioritization expressed in the last Friday’s Sonoma Index-Tribune: “An Open Letter to the Community: School Bond Measure E – Is This Really What We Voted For?” by Gary and Marcia Nelson.

The current emphasis placed by the School Board on using bond funds for new athletic facilities, while essential maintenance and improvements for the academic environment, are needed is a misdirection of expectations and priorities.

Basic and fundamental (and common sensical) economic and finance practice is to specify the expected return on investment of limited resources for decision options under consideration, and choose those that will yield the greatest general utility (especially for something as costly and important as educational resources). As far as I can see, no attempt has been made to articulate or estimate the expected return on investment of bond funds for the alternative prioritization scenarios under consideration by the Board. I believe any serious analysis would strongly indicate substantial advantages for the school body and the community of investments in the infrastructure for academics. The onus is on the School Board to demonstrate otherwise. I urge that such an analysis be done and communicated to the community. The board must be accountable for their approach to decision making – and this approach provides appropriate rigor and transparency.

Drew Levy