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Fact Checking the Against Prop 11 Statement in Voters’ Pamphlet

Updated: Mar 12

It's important that everyone has access to all the facts about Proposition 10 and 11. The Against Statements in the April 23 Voters’ Pamphlet misrepresented many facts. We wanted to provide fact-based responses to each misleading statement, and open dialogue for those with concerns about Proposition 10 and 11.

Read both our 'for' and the 'against' statement here.

Rebuttal of Proposition 11 Against Statement in Voters Pamphlet:

“They are splitting the bonds to give a false sense of choice.” 

Voters do have a choice. As previously mentioned, the two propositions provide voters with an option for smaller bond in Proposition 10, and larger bond by combining Proposition 10 and 11. If only Proposition 10 passes a home with the assessed value of $627,852 (the current median home value), the projected cost increase would be $320.20 per year, or $26.68 per month. If Proposition 11 passes as well (note: Proposition 11 can only pass if Proposition 10 passes), a home with the assessed value of $627,852 (the current median home value), the projected cost increase would be $816.21 total with both bonds, per year, or $68.02 per month.

“This plan says trust us, you don’t need to know the details.” 

Design details for the intermediate/middle school campus are not yet available, because they have not been completed. The creation of the designs will be part of a public process. In fact, information will be presented at the next Ridgefield School Board meeting on March 12th after receiving input from 8th graders who have been working with LSW Architects on design features. However, the school district has determined the general size of the school and can estimate the costs based on current construction costs of other schools that have been built in the region.

“They are asking for a new 5-8 school. Why? The one just built is less than 10% over its stated capacity of 1,157. Is the design so poor that 2 more kids per class is a problem?” 

The answer is in the question. Being "just" 10% overcapacity means that there are about 116 too many students there already. Class sizes are determined through collective bargaining, so the school district cannot add more students to each classroom to create additional space. We are out of available classroom space at SRIS/VRMS already, and there is no more room to add additional portables.

“At the current growth rate of about 24 kids per year, it will take 36 years to reach capacity.” 

This information is inaccurate. The average growth rate of 5th-8th graders over the past 6 school years is 51 additional students per year, 2 full classrooms. Our enrollments are projected to continue growing with the housing developments underway in the district.

If Proposition 11 passes and the new combined intermediate/middle school is built, boundaries would get redrawn and enrollments would mostly be balanced across the two 5-8 campuses. So each of the future Intermediate/Middle Schools would likely have about 600 students at each when it opens. This would leave the campuses with space to accommodate projected enrollment growth in the district.

“The high school has the greatest need for more classroom space based on their growth rate. Have you heard the plan there? We haven’t.”

The plans for Ridgefield High School are accessible to the public, posted on the school district’s website here. The need for more classroom space is addressed in Proposition 10 by adding 9 general education classrooms, plus a metals shop and metals classroom, increasing capacity by 350 students.

“Instead of classrooms, they are asking for a wrestling room. Because they snuck one in at the 5-8 school?” 

Appropriate facilities to Ridgefield athletics programs is an important aspect of a well-rounded experience for Ridgefield students. Currently, high school wrestlers share a practice/training space with the middle school program, and have to leave the RHS campus in order to practice.

Also, the wrestling room at View Ridge Middle School was planned all along and the information about it was publicly available all throughout the design and planning process for the 2017 bond project.

“There are safety issues with the playgrounds and band room. Why does it take a bond to fix [the playgrounds and band room]?” 

The playgrounds and acoustical upgrades combined cost $700,000 of the $120 million ask, and are not about correcting "safety issues". The playgrounds are about expanding the playgrounds and making accessibility upgrades to make playgrounds more inclusive for all Ridgefield students. 

The band program at RHS has become incredibly popular with students, and with so many students now participating in band, acoustical upgrades are necessary for the room to function properly as an adequate practice space that can handle the higher volume.

“It looks like money is going to luxury items instead of the core.” 

These aren't flippant requests. Band and athletics are vital aspects of a well-rounded educational experience for students. Recess and play is also vitally important for our elementary students for many reasons. And nearly 90% of the total project costs in Proposition 11 are for the construction of a new 5-8 campus, which will address "core" education.

“This $120 million will end up costing over $190 million after interest over 21 years and over $300 million for both propositions.” 

We aren’t sure what math they’re using for that, but again, it’s impossible to accurately project the total cost of a bond over the 20 year repayment term, as the district would refinance the bonds if interest rates drop.

“These bonds are outrageous and need to be sent back for complete restructuring.” 

If we push off this problem, building expenses will only increase, costing our community in the long-term, and our students in the meantime. Now is the time for us all to come together and get this done.

“Property taxes will rise dramatically while school test scores are poor and graduation rates have declined.” 

If we care about test scores and graduation rates, we’ll pass Prop 11 and ensure our schools are safe, effective, and able to educate our student population.

“They play games by using preschool and distance learning to inflate student numbers to make a case for the money.” 

Preschool students are still students, and they require classroom space just like any other student does. Early learning is vitally important to future student success, and the district is proud to offer a pre-K program to the community. 

Wisdom Ridge Academy students do most of their work at home, but they still come to the physical location for enrichment activities, and many of them take band, choir, etc. and participate in extracurricular activities at other district schools. So they still use district facilities even if they use remote learning options otherwise.

Still confused or have questions? Share them with us here. We will work to make sure our community gets their questions answered.

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