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Guest Opinion | Michelle Richardson Bailey: Now Is the Time to Support Measure O

Published on Monday, October 12, 2020 | 3:00 am
 
Michelle Richardson Bailey

As a member of Pasadena Unified School District’s Board for three years, whenever I’ve heard past proposals to place a school improvement bond on the ballot, I’ve demanded the answers to these three questions: Is the bond critical to the health of our schools? Is the bond affordable to our taxpayers? And, finally, will the projects funded by the bond be equitably available to all children throughout our district?  

I believe Measure O, Pasadena USD’s $516.3 million general obligation bond on the November 3rd ballot, meets and surpasses each of these tests and this is why I so strongly support its passage. Consider.

First, is it critical? Pasadena USD’s public schools are more than just a collection of buildings and classrooms. They provide our children with the opportunity to grow, to learn, to connect and to thrive. They are at the very core of what we stand for as a community and are our most valuable public resource. They must be cared for, repaired and protected. 

In addition, quality schools protect housing values. Ask any home buyer. The quality of a local school has an enormous impact on the price of a home. By repairing and upgrading classrooms and school campuses, we will be strengthening our neighborhoods for generations to come.

Second, is it affordable? Pasadena USD’s School Board worked hard to meet this goal. Even though state law would have let us place a much larger bond measure on the ballot, we all understood our community’s current economic struggles. This is why we opted for a bond far below the amount allowable under state law and with tax rates in the early years at a fraction of the legal limit. 

Third, is it equitable? The world has changed, and today’s educational challenges are greater than ever. All of our students face these new challenges and all of our students need today’s educational tools to remain competitive. By making sure internet access and up-to-date technology are at the top of our project list, children throughout the district – regardless of neighborhood – will have the opportunity to thrive in this new reality.

I recognize that this is a challenging time for many among us. But If there was ever a right time for us to rally around our schools, it is now. Because Measure O was not placed on the ballot without regard for our community’s current challenges. Measure O is on the ballot because of these challenges. 

Please visit the Yes on Measure O website at:
https://www.pusdyesonmeasureo.com/

Or on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/pusdyesono

Be sure to join me in voting Yes on Measure O.

Thank you!

PUSD District 3 School Board Member

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