Letter to the Editor: Instead of Measure G, We Might As Well Burn $58 Million Dollars

Claremont’s Bond issue measure G passed November 8 last year with 67% majority vote. But holy cow, I cannot even begin to comprehend the hypocrisy behind every bullet point in measure G. Let’s break it down.

According to votersedge.org, measure G is going to “provide $58 million for much needed repairs at every school site in the District.” I’d encourage you to put the Wolfpacket down and take a look around you. Do you see any decrepit buildings, in serious need of repair?

Done? Yeah right, I know all of you just kept reading. The truth is, only two of the points listed in G are in “much need of repairs” – the pool (which has a broken heater) and locker rooms (which are basically bacteria havens). At this point, not repairing them would constitute a serious health hazard. Everything else listed in the bond measure – “portables, classrooms, Student Center, large gym” – are simply things the district wants to renovate to look prettier. Not surprisingly, lots of these “renovations” are million-dollar projects.

Recently, I’ve noticed that our large gym was repainted with an intimidating logo of the Claremont Wolfpack. Sure, it looks cool and it’s beautifully designed, but what academic value does it have? Aside from school pride, none. You’ve seen the Student Center (a.k.a the place with orange chicken). Heck yeah, it is ugly, but is it worth hiring demolition and construction crews to tear down and rebuild a two-story structure?

It doesn’t stop there. Literally NOTHING in the bond’s description has academic value. Don’t believe me? The bond calls for improving various rooms’ flooring, windows, lighting, and ceilings, all of which are for the most part in good shape. I wouldn’t be surprised if this bond measure also paid for the million-dollar solar panels we’re currently constructing in the parking lot. Don’t get me wrong; I’m planning to start a green energy company and research solar cells as a ChemE undergrad, but solar is still far too costly an expenditure for schools to be investing in.

Please understand that I’m not against public education spending. So I’d like to propose two rational ways to spend this $58 million: firstly, by opening a Chinese language department and secondly, by hiring teachers to teach more advanced science and math classes.

We could open a Chinese language department. I’m not bashing anyone’s language here, but if I took Chinese as a freshman, I wouldn’t have dropped world language my sophomore year. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how China’s economy is the second largest in the world, or that 1.2 billion people speak Chinese. You think it’s rare for Chinese to be taught in school? That’s just because you’ve grown up in the sheltered Claremont environment. Los Osos, Diamond Bar, Arcadia, Walnut, Ayala, Damien, Webb, and countless other neighboring high schools have Chinese programs. Why not us? Surely we can afford it with $58 million!

We could also hire teachers to teach multivariable calculus, o-chem, diffy-q, and linear algebra. Last year, after I finished BC, I was told to go to Pomona College to take a test to get into multivariable. About 20 of us went. Only 10, including me, got in. Guess where the rest went? To other colleges, or simply left school one period earlier senior year. This is probably the easiest one of my suggestions to implement. We literally need one multivariable teacher. One. I’m tired of riding my bike to the Claremont Colleges three times a week.

I could further aggravate CHS’ liberal majority by considering how a quarter of our students are transfers and therefore not even paying the measure’s homeowner tax, but I’d like to keep my head.

Honestly, I’m out of here next year, so I can’t be bothered to really do anything about my grievances. From now on, it’s up to you underclassmen to make sure that this huge cash injection is spent correctly. The next time you sit in the luxurious, well air-conditioned gym while your brains rot to mush, remember what I said about spending our budget incorrectly.
Disclaimer: author is part of sports teams that stand to benefit from renovations proposed in G.