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Opinion: Vote No on Measure R

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The cost of living in Richmond is skyrocketing, squeezing residents and causing
gentrification. West Contra Costa Unified School District’s $575 million bond
measure, Measure R, is on the March ballot and would make things worse.

To pay back this proposed bond, the District will force resident property taxes to
increase $60 for every $100,000 in a home’s assessed value. Thus, if your
home’s assessed value is $500,000, you will pay an extra $300 annually for
Measure R until the year 2054! Moreover, landlords will pass this added cost on
to renters, increasing the cost of living for everyone.

Two bonds ago, the District promised to finish the school construction program
for all the schools in the district. It didn’t. We have now spent $1.6 billion and,
despite District promises, neither Kennedy nor Richmond High Schools have
been rebuilt. Instead, the District chose to spend over $360 million to rebuild two
high schools in other wealthier cities while many Richmond High School students
do not even have adequately heated classrooms. For that money, all four high
schools could have been rebuilt.

While we support the goals of Measure R to build better schools, the measure
does not address past waste, nor does it make legally-binding commitments to
rebuild specific schools and within a defined time period. Measure R will not help
resolve the District’s budget crisis, which may force 250+ teacher layoffs and
dramatically increase class size.

Stop the Waste and Vote No on R this March 3!

Ben Steinberg is a Richmond Resident and Chair of the “No on Measure R”
campaign;
Norma LaBat is a Richmond Resident and Community Advocate

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