Students and teachers say facilities at Branham, built in 1957, are outdated and need to be renovated to provide a proper 21st century education. For example, despite years of record-breaking temperatures, Branham has just begun to install air conditioning in the buildings.
Now, a proposed measure that includes Branham and other schools in the district could provide the necessary funds to renovate our school. Measure AA, on the Santa Clara County ballot, will permit CUHSD to issue $275 million to modernize, renovate and improve facilities and technology for schools in the district from property taxes of homes within the district. In order for this bond to be passed, 55 percent of the registered voters must approve. The bond includes Branham and the rest of the schools in the CUHSD. Principal Cheryl Lawton said that Branham will definitely benefit from Measure AA if passed, and the cafeteria is one of many projects on the renovation list.
“The cafeteria will have different stations with different types of food,” she said. “After that it’s up to (the administration) to prioritize.” Although many people such as council members and ducators are in favor of Measure AA, Mark W. A. Hickle, president of Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association, and Devin Kruse, resident of Campbell, beg to differ. They say that the district is untrustworthy and all facilities are up to code. Mr. Hickle said that funds from Measure G, a school passed in 2006, was mishandled.
“They have been wrongly entrusted with $90 million to upgrade facilities, and now they want another $275 million … to do the same thing all over again,” he said.
Even though Branham did gain from Measure G, students argue that more should be done to renovate the school and that people such as Kruse and Hickle haven’t seen the school’s conditions. Freshman Atticus Ahearn said that she would definitely like to see the bathrooms redone because they are “just a really big mess.” She senses a conflict between renovation and the burden that more taxes places on residents. “It’s a great measure and we definitely need it, but the fact of the matter is that it adds more taxes,” she said. “We already have so many taxes. I think they should ust prioritize and take tax money from other things.”