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Why such a negative stance toward the Lompoc Unified School District?

Recently this newspaper’s editorial stated that our school board was "trying to atone for a previous thrashing at the polls." A thrashing?

For the record, more people voted for the last two bonds in Lompoc than voted against them. Why use that kind of language when referring to our local public schools? 

Like Hancock College, the LUSD has 50-60-year-old buildings, as well as unsafe recreation fields. It would be nice if the local paper would be support the LUSD like they are supporting the Hancock bond.

In June we were the only school district in the area that didn't support our schools by not getting 55 percent to pass the bond. That doesn't sound like Lompoc to me.

Some possible reasons the recent bond didn't get the desired number to pass:

Lack of voter turnout — less than 7,000 people voted, which is almost half the turnout in November 2016 when the bond got almost 59-percent positive votes.

Charges of a lack of transparency — how much more transparent can the district get? Years ago, after our last bond passed and the work was done, an oversight committee made up of independent citizens found the district had spent the money legally and like it said it would.

A copy of the LUSD Master Plan Costs Update is available at every school site, and on the district webpage. Now, at every school site, there is a sign posting all of the work to be done on that campus if the bond passes.

Personal issues — I was told there are some folks who voted against the bond because they didn't like a certain individual in the district, the superintendent, school board member, etc. They thought it would bring those people down. However, all it did was hurt the close to 10,000 students, 500 teachers and 450 classified workers who are all a vital part of the LUSD.

Taxes — I get it. Even though taxes won't go up from our current number, it is still eventually a higher tax than without the bond. I am a homeowner, so I am in the same boat as everyone else. However, at least I know where these taxes are going.

With matching funds from the state, the bond could yield over $100 million. Where else are we going to get this type of money to repair our outdated and in some cases unsafe schools? Plus, in my 32 years here in Lompoc, I know the Lompoc community has always come through for so many of our local agencies and people who need our help. We have a special pride in Lompoc.

A "no" vote means we are not supporting our kids.

We have great, dedicated teachers and hard-working students in Lompoc. I know so many of you in Lompoc voted to support me when I ran for the school board in 2016. Please join me in taking a giant step forward for our schools by voting “yes” on Measure E.

And in the process, let's all try to stay positive in our remarks, no matter how we feel.

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Dick Barrett is a member of the Lompoc Unified School District board.