Santa Rosa school district seeks $229 million in bonds


Santa Rosa City Schools officials will turn to voters this fall for help upgrading and modernizing facilities and equipment.

School board members voted unanimously Wednesday night to place on the Nov. 4 ballot two separate bond measures totaling $229 million — one that would cover improvements at the elementary schools and the other at the middle and high schools.

The district hasn’t been able to keep up with maintenance and technology needs because of declining revenues over the past several years, board member Laura Gonzalez said.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t had the money necessary to keep up the schools,” she said before the meeting. “This is an opportunity to make things better.”

She argued it’s important schools get ahead of the curve, particularly with technology. She said many students don’t have access to computers and Internet at home.

It took just minutes for the board to approve putting the bond measures on the ballot.

“As we’re trying to move our students forward, it’s essential that we support the bond,” Board member Larry Haenel said at the meeting. “I’m hopeful that the voters will support this because education is not only an investment in the health and welfare of our students, it’s also an economic investment in our community.”

Parent Gina Huntsinger said she has two daughters enrolled in schools in the district and would like to see more technological improvements to the schools, where wireless and computer access is poor.

“They need to be upgraded so that we can compete in a global economy,” she said. “(Students) definitely need to be able to type and they need to be available to do research online.”

She said her husband, Will Huntsinger, is a Spanish teacher at Maria Carrillo High School and has been using more technology in the classroom. She said he uses a lot of PowerPoint presentations and computer graphics to reach out to students who are more visual learners.

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