BY AHMED HAQUE
Chairman of the Board
CARLSBAD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
While the Chamber does not endorse candidates for office, we do take a position on a select number of matters that may appear on your ballot this November. The first such matter we have considered is Measure HH, which if approved by 55% of voters, will authorize the Carlsbad Unified School District to issue $265M in bonds to fund capital improvements.
After careful study of this issue, the Chamber’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to support Measure HH. You will note in your official voter’s guide that the Chamber is a signatory to the argument in favor of Measure HH.
The Chamber is proud of its long standing partnership with the Carlsbad Unified School District. The strength of our local economy is highly correlated to the quality of our schools. The ability of our local businesses to attract workers, the skills offered by our homegrown talent, property appreciation, and much more depend on our public schools.
The Measure does result in an increase to property taxes with the bill on the average home in the district increasing less than $200 a year. The Chamber’s Board took a critical look at the need for additional funding, the restricted use of those funds, governance on spending, and came to the conclusion that the modest impact on homes and businesses was a prudent investment in the local economy.
Key factors in our decision were the aging facilities in the District and the need for modern technology suitable for today’s curriculums, the conservative financial structure of the bonds, the existence of an oversight board of citizens to ensure the funding is spent in a proper manner, and the fact that the funds are to be spent on “hard” improvements and not “soft” costs like salaries.
I learned about the high reputation of our school district shortly after moving to the area seven years ago. I have had the privilege of visiting many Carlsbad schools over the years and witnessed firsthand the innovative programs and passion with which our teachers perform their mission. I never could have imagined that the District operates with the second lowest revenue per student of the 42 districts in San Diego County. It is obvious to me that the District makes the most of limited resources.
The Board’s deliberation on this issue greatly impressed me. The diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints on our Board allows us to ask tough questions and have a spirited debate. This will likely not be the only issue on which we weigh in this year. Stay tuned for updates in the CBJ, take the time to study the issues and candidates, and of course remember to vote.