Santa Clara Unified Prepping for Another Bond Measure

Santa Clara Unified Prepping for Another Bond Measure

By Robert Haugh

Santa Clara Unified School District may put a bond measure on the 2018 ballot funded by a parcel tax on Santa Clara home owners. It’ll be the third bond measure in the last eight years for the District. The 2018 bond could be asking for as much as $875 million. The District issued a $419 million bond in 2014 and $81.1 million in 2010. Previously, they issued $315 million in 2004.

The School Board will have discussion on going to the ballot at their Oct. 12 meeting.


Earlier this year, the District hired Clifford Moss, a political consulting firm to study the potential options for another bond measure in 2018. Moss has ties to SCUSD board president Andy Ratermann. Clifford Moss was also hired by the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce PAC, as Ratermann who sits on the PAC board told us: “to support business interests”. Sources have suggested that the PAC hired Clifford Moss to help research candidates for the November 2018 Santa Clara city elections, including finding possible challengers to incumbents which would complicate next year’s campaign for a bond measure.

On Sept. 28, Timothy McLarney of True North Research Inc and Tom Clifford of Clifford Moss presented a voter survey to the School Board.

They concluded that a measure is winnable and voters would support a tax of $49-$54 for each $100,000 of a home’s assessed value. So, a million dollar home would pay an increase of $490-$540 per year. That’s not stated in the ballot label the survey tested. But it’s not required to be. Voters have to find out for themselves.

We’re hearing some grumbling in the community about the number of times that the District has asked voters for a funds through bond measures (i.e., parcel taxes). In fact, in the voter survey, that was the strongest negative argument against the measure, with over 64 percent of voters finding the argument convincing. We’ll keep our eye on the School Board’s decision and the details about the bond measure and parcel tax.


  1. Most of the teachers are doing an incredible job. Usually where the “break down” occurs is with bad Principals, incompetent staff being promoted to the District Office, gouging by contractors, and the fact that SCUSD has incredibly old infrastructure that needs drastic overhauling. Part of this is time, part is lack of maintenance on a regular basis.

    On the revenue side, the corporations have not paid their fair share in decades and this has been building a hole in the budget for decades. The taxing of apartments is ludicrous. I agree that there should be school impact fees on ALL developments for every single school district.

    But let’s also not forget that the state and federal governments keep mandating a wide variety of items and almost always never provide enough money (if any money at all) for the school districts to implement. So the result is more administrative overhead. As well as more “teaching to the test” and not enough real teaching/learning as was done decades ago.

    Lastly, the unions are not helping as there should be more positive outcomes for great teachers and negative outcomes (fired!) for lousy teachers. Instead incompetent teachers are almost impossible to fire. They get left in place or get promoted to the District Office as the school district does not want to get sued. Principals also aren’t held accountable enough. Principals can help a good deal at the school when they support the teachers, but can be horrifically toxic if they do not support the teachers properly. Those toxic Principals need to be fired too.

    If we do all this and end the waste and incompetence on the capital projects side of the house then I think people would be more receptive for more bond measures. But if the Apartments and Corporations paid their share, there would probably be little to no need for yet one more Bond Measure!

  2. My understanding is that bond money cannot be used for salaries. SCUSD teachers don’t make as much as other district teachers. I teach in a district two towns away and make 30% more than what I would make working in SCUSD. (And if I wasn’t married, I still wouldn’t be able to afford to live here.) Just like the price of our homes as increased an incredible amount the last few years, so has the cost of building. The original estimated cost for building the new elementary, middle, and high school campus on the Agnews campus has increased dramatically. All Santa Clara schools are impacted, and even though there has been many great improvements (air conditioning being one of my favorites since it was 90 degrees before in my children’s classrooms in the fall and late spring) there just isn’t enough as originally thought to finish the items on the list. The cost of everything has skyrocketed and the number of students in SCUSD has also increased. There is no room. Every school has tons of portables (I teach in one – they are terrible). So, I know everyone loves to complain about the education system and thinks they know what it is best, but please make informed comments. Also, I have interacted with Mr. Ratermann on numerous occasions and I have only been impressed by his dedication to the district and the city. This doesn’t seem the place, or appropriate, to be name calling. Educating our children is serious and stressful job, and yet teachers, admins and districts get half the respect and half the money to do it compared to the person making a computer chip next door. By the way, most admins I know work hard and are very necessary. In most companies the ratio to admin/manager to employee is much smaller.

  3. If they need to go back to the voters this many times, they must have screwed up. Ratermann is a shifty guy. I don’t trust him or the bond.

  4. Well,well,well….when times are good…GO FOR THE JUGGLER……I believe us Seniors got a break on the last one…still about time cost control is initiated because to keep coming back to the table and for even more monies…I think not!! Also more than double of the last one!!! Give me a break. Yes, all this HD Housing coming in…..more children folks and do those parents get hit with the taxes? Only the developers are smiling at this one!!

    • HD rental apartments only pay one parcel tax PER apartment complex (since it is all one parcel/owner). So an 800 unit apartment with hundreds of families pays the same as one house. One way to fix this is to have the tax based per square foot, like they did in Berkeley.

  5. I agree with Henry. Let them spend the money they have more wisely. The number of highly paid administrators needs to be looked at. The reason we didn’t need STEM programs in the past is this was included in the curriculum instead of the social engineering and political correctness that is being taught. More money? Really? I don’t think so; it’s like giving drugs to an addict.

  6. The REAL STORY is the district needs to do this bond because they screwed up the last one with cost over runs. Can you look into that Robert?

  7. How ridiculous … how about stop giving teachers high raises until they show results increased results? The District has received lots of money but they keep squandering it … just say no to more bonds. There is also way too many highly paid administrators too! Time to thin the top layer and make administrators work too. And stop paying for union reps who do not work in the classroom. This district has lost track of their mission … educate children. Time to stop all the politics. Time to remove all the excess administrators too. Educate student, educate students … and teachers must actually be in the classrooms teaching. Just say NO to more school bonds.

  8. The SCUSD has the option to raise school impact fees on developers if they so choose. The city council keeps approving more development and the SCUSD keeps shifting the impact fees to the current homeowners. Its just another giveaway to developers as they act surprised more kids come with new housing.

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