Measure PV Shines Bright Light On Many School Issues
• School District infrastructure, teacher salaries and student performance are topics for discussions.
After years of student complaints regarding dysfunctional restroom stall doors, rat appearances in culinary classrooms and crumbling concrete have been heard. The Palos Verdes Peninsula School District’s (PVPUSD) has proposed a remedy, a $389 million bond to renovate district schools, labeled Measure PV.
If at least 55 percent of the Peninsula’s voters approve the bill on March 3, improvement projects that do not necessitate extensive approval will go into effect immediately. Measure PV was placed on the March ballot by the PVPUSD School Board’s Resolution No. 3 on Nov. 6, 2019.
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School senior Amanda Kalaydjian has been a student in the District since kindergarten. While she agrees that school infrastructure is in need of repair, she asserts that there are several unaddressed needs with regard to teachers’ wages that ought to be met.
“I find the measure oddly convenient and inherently selfish,” Kalaydjian said. “Palos Verdes parents are now trying to raise money ‘for the children’, but when our teachers had not received their desperately deserved raise several years ago, there was no community uproar which is why they had to go on strike.”
Other opponents of Measure PV, most notably the organization Citizens for Responsible Education Spending (PVPCRES), fear that the proposal is too rushed and is missing the consideration from the public who are ultimately the ones that will be mandated to pay for the measure.
According to the PVPCRES website, while Measure PV’s primary selling point has been about improving student safety, there are only $78 million being used for safety-related projects, with the remaining $221 million being distributed to be used for nebulous purposes.
The recently passed Proposition 13, which allocates $15 billion to schools statewide, is, according to the district, insufficient to meet PVPUSD’s needs. In a public statement, they articulated that because the state directs how the bond’s funds will be allocated, very little of the $15 billion will be given to the district.
Measure PV is substantially larger than previous measures passed with the same intent. Measures K, R and S, all passed in the early 2000s, allotted a total of $86 million for school modernization.
Proponents of Measure PV summarized their beliefs on their website, which draws support from a number of parents and teachers across the Hill. After drawing comparisons between the quality of PV schools’ facilities and those of neighboring districts, which allegedly invest more in their schools than PVPUSD, they believe that Measure PV’s passage will ensure that district facilities will, at the very least, be on par with the education Palos Verdes students receive.
PVPUSD parent Selvy Utama explaned her support for Measure PV, stating that in spite of the relatively little time she spends on some campuses, she still is able to take the need for repairs into account.
“We need changes so badly,” Utama said. “There’s no air-conditioning at some schools — we don’t even have the bare minimum for [students] to learn in a productive manner. Considering the high quality of education our kids receive here on the Hill, the increased property tax to pay for Measure PV is not that large of an opportunity cost. You can’t put a price tag on quality education.”
Projected changes include updating schools without heating and air-conditioning, resurfacing playgrounds, and patching leaky roofs. Two new gyms will be added to Ridgecrest Intermediate School and Palos Verdes Intermediate School, and the pool at Miraleste Intermediate School will be renovated. Campuses will be retrofitted in order to be more resistant to earthquakes and updated to comply with accessibility standards mandated in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Other improvements including the repair of sports fields and the replacement of grass with turf are also expected.