The Value of Trust
By Jim Mills
We’ve been meaning to follow up on our April 28 blog post about the Price of Distrust, in which we noted the likely success of a $70 million Lafayette School District bond issue and contrasted their progress with MDUSD’s failure to generate adequate funding to maintain our schools in Northgate, as well as elsewhere in the district.
Well, the Lafayette bond issue passed with a 73.8% margin, well above the required 55%. Don’t let people tell you that voters won’t support public education with more tax dollars. They will, if they trust the people who will spend the money.
According to the East Bay Times, the bond proceeds will be used to renovate ageing, over-crowded facilities, as well as pay for districtwide technology upgrades and site projects such as a new classroom building to address growth at Stanley Middle School (occupied in 1955); new kindergarten classrooms at 59-year-old Burton Valley Elementary; and new portable classrooms at Lafayette Elementary (occupied in 1943) and Springhill Elementary, which was overhauled in 1999 using funds from a previous bond measure.
Because the Lafayette district has cultivated community trust under the leadership of Superintendent Rachel Zinn and a competent board, the families in Lafayette can be confident that their public schools will provide facilities that can accommodate the needs of the district’s 21st Century learners and the committed teachers who support them. In MDUSD, we await a long-term plan that can address our aging schools, which, in the case of Northgate, are also seriously over-crowded. The question we also face is this: even if MDUSD had a strategic plan, and even if it included a sensible plan for maintaining and upgrading facilities, would the voters trust our district to carry it out?