In November, 65% of the people who voted in Moorpark and 64% of those who voted in the Conejo Valley said yes to requests for a bond issue to build, repair and modernize local schools.
That should have settled the matter.
But because the California Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to raise taxes, both measures failed. And because the problems the school districts hoped to solve with the extra cash have not gone away, both districts will hold special elections April 14 to try again.
We supported the measures in November, and we support them now. We owe it to our kids to keep our community schools in good shape and up to date. This investment will pay off not only in fewer distractions to education but in greater property values and community pride.
Both districts have offered detailed lists of how they intend to use the money:
* In the Conejo Valley Unified School District, Measure V would authorize $97 million in bonds. Of that, $63 million would pay for renovations such as fixing pipes, adding air-conditioning and repairing roofs. About $34 million would go toward construction of facilities such as a pool, gymnasiums and classrooms.
* In Moorpark Unified School District, Measure W would provide $16 million. Most money would go toward accommodating enrollment growth. Intended projects include $9 million in work at Moorpark High School, such as a new gym, classrooms and science labs. Bond money also would go toward improving technology and renovating Flory Elementary School and Chaparral Middle School, the two oldest campuses.
There has been some criticism of both school districts for bringing this back to the voters in a special election rather than waiting until the regular balloting in June, and for crossing the line between providing impartial information about the issue (allowed) and campaigning for it (not).
In light of the tantalizingly narrow margins of defeat last November, we sympathize with the school districts and see no serious wrongdoing, despite a few instances of debatable over-exuberance.
The Times supports Gov. Pete Wilson and legislative Democrats in their long effort to change the state Constitution so that local school bond issues can be passed by a simple majority vote.
In the meantime, voters in Moorpark and the Conejo Valley should support their schools and their children--current and future--by voting yes on April 14.