Measure K was a bond measure, passed in June 1996, to help finance facilities improvements for all the schools in the Cabrillo Unified School District (CUSD).

CUSD extends from Montara to San Gregorio along the coast, and up to Skyline Drive. Our schools include Half Moon Bay High School, Cunha Intermediate (middle) School (HMB), and four elementary schools: Hatch (HMB), El Granada, Farallon View (Montara) and Kings Mountain (Skyline).

Here's what Measure K said:

"To repair or replace leaky roofs, deteriorating plumbing, sewers, heating, and electrical systems, expand the high school, construct a new middle school to relieve existing overcrowded conditions and provide adequate classrooms for students already enrolled in district elementary schools, renovate libraries, upgrade science and computer labs, remove harmful asbestos, acquire and construct classrooms and school sites, shall Cabrillo Unified School District issue $35 million of bonds at an interest rate within the legal limit?"

Some have argued that because the Facilities Master Plan (FMP), also approved in 1996, envisioned a new middle school at a different site, we're forbidden to take new circumstances into account that make Cunha the best site for our middle school.

What are those new circumstances? There are three important ones. First, the FMP assumed that our middle school enrollment would continue to grow at a rapid rate, and that we would both outgrow the Cunha middle school, and also need that site for a new elementary school.

Instead, district enrollment overall, including both middle school and elementary enrollment, has steadily declined for the last five or six years, and is projected by the state to continue to decline for at least the rest of the decade.

Second, not only has our elementary enrollment declined, but so has our budget. It's fortunate that we don't need another elementary school, because we couldn't afford to build and operate it.

Finally, the district has not been able to find another site to build the middle school. Despite spending large amounts on expensive architectural plans for a middle school that will never be built (even if we eventually build at Wavecrest), and despite campaign promises in 2000 from the school board, we're no closer to having a new middle school now than we were in 1996 after Measure K passed.

It's entirely within the power of the school district to review and update the Facilities Master Plan, using a public process. In fact, it's the duty of the school board to do so, to make the best use of district funds to provide the best possible education for our children.

It's also been objected that Measure K requires us to "acquire ... school sites". But that's not how the language should be read. Rather, the measure lists the kinds of thing that the bond proceeds may be spent on, including (but not necessarily mandating) new sites. You'll note that nobody is complaining that the district is only proposing to buy a single site, not the "sites" that the measure "requires", nor that it's giving up one of its existing sites to do so.

 Read the opinion of noted bond counsel Jerry Laster.

In summary, Measure K does not stand in the way of doing the right thing, and building our new middle school at Cunha. We encourage making this a public process, with a comprehensive review and update of the Facilities Master Plan, and are confident that Cunha will emerge as the obvious choice for a new middle school.