Wednesday, January 16, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 45

Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on May 16th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 11

Vote 'no' on Lompoc Unified School District bond


Lightning does strike twice in the same place. Yes, it does at the Lompoc Unified School District’s (LUSD) board, which has placed on the June 5 ballot a requirement for a new school bond for the second time in two years. This bond, titled Measure Q2018, is designated for $79 million to be spent over a period of 34 years to pay for the schools’ maintenance requirements of about $7 million per year beginning in 2020.

The tax rate will be $60 per $100,000 of assessed property values. At payout in 2054, this bond will have cost the local property taxpayers in the LUSD some $179 million with interest. A simple 55 percent vote is all that is necessary to approve this bond by the voters on June 5, because it is for “general use,” when needed. No employee salaries or benefits are permitted. Just why should the property taxpayers vote for this gigantic tax for a poorly defined slush fund to be used for fixing leaky roofs and cleaning pipes and toilets? They should not! Shouldn’t that work be done on the present yearly school budget for maintenance?

In 2016, the LUSD promoted Measure L2016 for $65 million, which the voters rejected.

In 2002 the voters passed Measure N2002 for the LUSD to improve dilapidated bathrooms and to put in wiring for computer labs and fire alarms. This was a bond of $38 million, on which property taxpayers will be paying until maturity in 2032. I was a member of the Citizens Oversight Committee for 2 1/2 years and witnessed the work being done and the funds being expended.

In addition to Measure N, the voters also passed in 2002: the hospital bond, Measure E2; the Allan Hancock School Bond, Measure I; the Lompoc Pool Bond; and the Flood Zone Assessment. So Lompoc property taxpayers are paying on five bonds.

The proposed Measure Q2018 will add to this cost for bonds that the citizens of LUSD are presently paying. If you are paying $220 per year for the present Measure N school bond you will have added to your yearly bill $179 more for Measure Q until the present Measure N bond matures in 2032. This cost will be different for taxpayers with different property assessments, but is used here as an illustration.

In other words, it will be “more,” not just an “add on,” as the district is telling voters in their expensive taxpayer funded flyers used to sell this new tax. In addition, the rate of tax set at $60 per $100,000 of property assessment is the highest for all of the present bonds on the ballot in the 2018 election by double. The LUSD board is really hitting the Lompoc taxpayers harder than any other board in the county.

This new bond proposal is clearly a way around Proposition 13, which voters passed in 1978 to limit radical increases in property taxes like Q2018 is. The yearly increase in our taxes will be way more than the 2 percent limited by Proposition 13 if Q2018 is passed.

This LUSD Q2018 bond is opposed by retired school teachers and past school board members in the district for good reasons, as you will see when you read the voter ballot booklet for the 2018 election on June 5. We Lompoc voters and property taxpayers must also reject Q2018 with our “no” vote on the June 5 ballot.

Perhaps a less expensive, better-defined program would be more acceptable to the taxpayers than Q2018 appears to be.

Justin Ruhge is a resident of Lompoc. Send your thoughts to

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