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Measure E: Stockton Voters To Decide On $114-Million Bond For School Technology

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The Stockton Unified School District is hoping to take a giant step into the digital age by upgrading computers and information systems for students. Measure E on the November 4th ballot would raise $114-million for new technology.

Students at Franklin High School in Stockton are typing on computer keyboards. 

They're completing school work, doing research and applying for college. 

Over the last two years, Stockton Unified has bought 19,000 Chromebooks, but that's not enough for the 38,000 students. 

Curriculum Director Robert Sahli says Measure E would pay for more computers, more bandwidth, and more e-books to replace textbooks. 

"We're providing down to the lowest levels in kindergarten, the familiarity and comfort with using the technology," says Sahli.

Stockton Unified is the largest school district in San Joaquin County and one of the poorest, with 90 percent of the students eligible for free or reduced priced lunches. 

Many low-income families don't have computer access. 

Senior Alexis Ramirez says the old school computers were slow, but the new ones have transformed her school work. 

"I'm now able to type my papers, apply for scholarships, do various other research through my school computers," says Ramirez.

Classmate Daniel Lima agrees.

"The ability to research and write at the same time in the middle of class is something we really haven't had before," says Lima. 

Unlike other long-term bonds, Measure E would pay back the loan in 3 to 5 years, which means less money spent on interest and more on equipment. 

But homeowners are still paying for  three previous bond measures which cost them about $200 per 100,000 dollars of assessed value. 

Candis Oldham says it's just too much. 

"We're paying too many, it's like any other thing, a layer of government, it's like one more thing," says Oldham.

Homeowner Raul Vasquez says his cost would be about $25 a year for his $100,000 home. 

"You got to educate the kids and you got to give the kids the equipment to do the job," he says.

Measure E had no stated formal opposition on the ballot. 

It must win 55 percent of the vote to pass.