Measure E reborn as local vote?
Although voters in four counties soundly rejected a $384 million bond for improvements to the Sierra College system in March, school officials hope to find success this fall with ballot initiatives aimed specifically at western Nevada County and Truckee.
The Sierra Community College board of trustees is scheduled to meet in Kings Beach on June 4 to decide the amount of the bonds for each of the campuses and what projects might be pursued – if the efforts can make it onto November ballots.
The bonds would be pursued through each campus’ sponsoring district. In western Nevada County, the election boundaries would be the same as the Nevada Joint Union High School District. In Truckee, where trustees have been working to secure a larger site for the fledgling college campus, voters would come from the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District.
The western Nevada County campus’ share of bond money could reach $38 million for new lecture halls, a public-safety academy, performing arts center and expanded nursing facilities, said Tina Ludutsky-Taylor, provost of the college’s Grass Valley campus.
At this point, a similar effort for a smaller bond measure isn’t planned in Placer County, home to the college system’s oldest and largest campus, said Sierra College spokeswoman Sue Michaels.
The move makes sense for Nevada County, Ludutsky-Taylor said, considering 59 percent of Grass Valley voters and 68 percent of Nevada City voters favored the larger bond measure in March.
Overall, voters rejected Measure E, with just over 49 percent supporting the measure that covered Placer, Nevada, El Dorado and part of Sacramento counties. In Nevada County, 54 percent of voters supported the measure.
The measure required a 55 percent majority to pass.
Ludutsky-Taylor said she thinks local voters are ready to support a more-focused bond measure, even if it comes just eight months after voters were asked to approve $384 million in bonds for the multicampus system based in Rocklin.
“We really didn’t fail in Nevada County,” she said. “What I’m hearing is that we passed it, in spite of obstacles.”
The March sample ballot mailed to voters didn’t clearly define what the money would be used for in Nevada County, Ludutsky-Taylor said, which might have led to confusion.
Dan Castles, who led Nevada County’s effort to pass Measure E, said he, too, believes voters will support a localized bond for Nevada County.
“This eliminates what was an overall challenge to Measure E,” he said. “This approach seems very positive.”
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