Letters to the Editor
October 6, 2016

To the Editor:
Improving Fillmore Unified School District Schools
Measure V, a $35 million general obligation (G.O.) bond, will be on the November 8 ballot for Fillmore Unified School District voters. If approved, it will make it possible to improve, build, and rehabilitate schools and classrooms throughout the District to ensure that students receive the quality of education needed to meet the challenges of today’s rapidly changing world.
Measure V would authorize a range of facility improvements across the District, including upgrading and expanding career technical education facilities; repairing classrooms and schools built decades ago; upgrading wiring and electrical systems to accommodate modern technology; repairing and replacing outdated heating and air-conditioning systems, leaky roofs and plumbing; improving the Fillmore School Farm; and updating fire alarms and emergency communication systems to improve student safety.
The Fillmore Unified School District Board of Education placed Measure V on the ballot because State funding has fallen short of our children’s educational needs. Measure V will help address that problem by providing a source of locally controlled, affordable funds that cannot be taken by the State and spent elsewhere. School districts statewide commonly use G.O. bonds to make up for such State funding shortfalls. Like home loans, these bonds are typically repaid over a set period. Funds to repay G.O. bonds come from a tax on all taxable property in the District – residential, commercial and industrial.
Our community has been hit hard with budget cuts in previous years, which makes deciding on a fiscally responsible solution very important. The measure’s average tax rate is estimated to be $58.48 per $100,000 of assessed valuation per year or $4.87 per month. A property’s assessed valuation (determined by the County at the time it is sold or undergoes major renovations) is typically lower than its market value.
The District is dedicated to ensuring taxpayer funds are used responsibly. Local management of these funds ensures that we know how the money is spent. Measure V funds will be protected by an independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee that must review and audit all bond expenditures. By law, bond funds cannot be used to pay administrator salaries, pensions or benefits. Legal safeguards prohibit the State from taking these funds and spending them elsewhere. Measure V also makes the District eligible for State matching funds.
Dr. Adrian E. Palazuelos is Superintendent of the Fillmore Unified School District.


To the Editor:
Hello residents of Fillmore, Piru and Bardsdale. I currently serve as President of the Fillmore High Alumni Association. I am writing these comments as a citizen of Fillmore. They do not represent the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors or the Alumni Association as a whole. There is a Measure coming up on this November’s ballot that improves the High School Facilities. It’s called Measure V, and I fully support it. This coming Monday evening at 7:00pm there will be a tour of the Fillmore High School gym and industrial arts buildings. I am inviting all residents, and especially Fillmore High Alumni, to join me along with Superintendent Adrian Palazuelos on this tour. There is a need for upgrades to our Alma Mater, Fillmore High, and especially the gym and industrial arts area of the High School. I am anxious and excited to hear what is planned for this area of the High School, and at the same time, excited to take a walk down memory lane. For those of you who are alumni, I’m sure you remember the old Wood Shop, Ag, Metal, Printing, and Automotive shops. There is a need in this area for upgrades. As President of the Fillmore High Alumni Assn, I know the Scholarship committee has funds set aside to award students scholarship money who apply to and qualify for trade schools. In the past 5 or 6 years, not one student has applied for this type of scholarship. Maybe after Monday’s tour, we will have a better idea of why they don’t, and be able to see where we, as a community, can help make this possible for our Fillmore students. So join me this Monday, October 10th at 7:00pm for a walk down memory lane as we tour the Gym and the good ole Industrial Arts buildings. You can park in the old horse shoe or on First Street. The tour will begin in the Cafeteria. It should last about 30 to 45 minutes.
Mark Ortega ‘79