An arson fire that gutted the San Lorenzo Valley High School
library in 2006 has turned out to be the spark for a major new building program that will improve all four SLV public schools.
By a 4,954-to-3,356 margin, voters on Tuesday authorized an $18.9 million bond issue for school libraries, a computer lab, classrooms and other improvements at the high school, SLV Middle School
, and SLV and Boulder Creek elementary schools.
The "yes" votes totaled 59.6 percent. A 55 percent majority was needed for passage.
The Measure O bonds will be combined with a $2 million insurance payout from the library fire to provide:
- A building housing a new high school library, a library for the adjoining middle school and a computer lab.
- Expansion of the high school performing arts center.
- Classrooms in existing non-classroom space, including the old library structure.
- Security improvements at all four district schools.
- New playground equipment.
Success of the election was the culmination of a year-long public process that began when the school board and administration began to discuss how to replace the library. The larger project evolved as trustees said there was a bigger opportunity.
The bonds will cost property owners an estimated $20 annually per $100,000 of assessed valuation.
The library was destroyed in September 2006 when three teens set fire to a trash barrel that had been pushed up against an exterior wall. Sheriff’s deputies later said they had been drinking and tried unsuccessfully to burn other campus buildings.
Garrett Frasca, 18 of Felton, a recent graduate, was arrested along with two boys aged 17 and 15. Frasca was sentenced to a year in county jail and the others were tried in juvenile court, where outcomes are confidential.