Several former San Bruno City Council members are rallying against Measure O, the San Mateo Union High School District bond measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The $186 million bond would pay off district debt, fund classroom projects and finance a new continuation school to replace Peninsula High School, which is located at the former Crestmoor High School site in San Bruno.
Former city mayors Larry Franzella and Bob Marshall Sr. are among the signatories of a ballot argument opposing the measure. The opponents say they supported two previous bonds measures, Measure D in 2000 and Measure M in 2006, but "there are no urgent or critical needs that justify" another bond.
"I'm saying enough is enough," said Beverly Barnard, former San Bruno councilwoman. "Measure M was supposed to do all the things that they claim that Measure O will do."
District officials said they need Measure O to free up classroom funding and finish modernizing school facilities.
About $74 million of Measure O would go to pay off a loan from Measure D, said Elizabeth McManus, deputy superintendent of business services for the school district. The debt service payments are now taken out of the district's general fund, McManus said.
"If we retire this debt of $74 million, we will be able to put probably about $1.2 million annually back into the general fund," she said.
At Capuchino High School construction crews are in the process of gutting the school's two gymnasiums and putting in a new pool, all part of a renewal plan that will also include a two-story classroom building and a renovated theatre. Measure M, the $298 million bond initiative, funds this construction.
Measure O could fund an artificial turf sports field, the resurfacing of the tennis courts and a new school electrical system at Capuchino, McManus said. But the school board hasn't finalized a project list.
"It's a good time to go ahead and try to finish these projects that are really critical for the district and the kids," said district trustee Peter Hanley.
The bond money would also provide construction jobs at a time when the industry is still recovering, McManus said.
The new continuation school seems to be the biggest sticking point in San Bruno. A school district committee recommended the Peninsula High property be deemed surplus, opening the door for the possible sale or lease of the Crestmoor site.
Tom Ricci, a member of the surplus property advisory committee and a former San Bruno councilman, said the committee wanted the district to assess the need for a new continuation school and evaluate the project's costs before moving forward. "They jumped the gun and put [Measure O] on the ballot," Ricci said.
With the district's comprehensive high schools all receiving new facilities, Hanley said it raises the question of whether Peninsula High has equal capabilities. It would be too costly to fix up the alternative school, Measure O backers said.
"It's more cost effective to relocate those students to a new facility that is more geographically convenient for the district," said Heidi Bowman, co-chairwoman of the Committee for Quality High Schools-Yes on O.
The district plans to buy land for the new school but hasn't picked a site yet, McManus said.
The district estimates that Measure O would add about $5 in property tax to every $100,000 worth of accessed value. The tax rate from the two previous bond measures is about $31.79 per $100,000 of accessed valuation, according to the district.
The measure requires approval from 55 percent of district voters.