It’s no secret that high performing school districts improve the quality of life in communities. Decades of research shows that excellent schools increase property values and a well-educated workforce stimulates economic development. The Patterson Unified School District is committed to continuous improvement and the development of educational programming that not only enhances learning opportunities for our students, but contributes to the overall well-being of all citizens in our community.

But Patterson, like many smaller communities throughout California, faces a unique challenge: attracting and retaining qualified teachers to work and live in its community. An acute national teacher shortage is exacerbated locally by a lack of workforce housing in Patterson and escalating rental prices throughout Stanislaus County. Our research has consistently shown that when teachers leave Patterson for other districts in Stanislaus County, they do so to work in a community where they already live and avoid lengthy commute times. This attrition is not healthy for our children or Patterson’s local economy.

Our district remains the largest full-time employer in Patterson, but more than 60% of our employees do not live in Patterson or adjacent communities within our attendance boundaries. This means that roughly $37 million in annual payroll leaves Patterson and is spent mostly in neighboring cities. We know from surveying our staff, and through pilot housing programs already implemented in our district, that more of our employees would choose to live in Patterson if housing and the opportunity to save and buy a home locally were made available to them.

Measure N will address this problem and provide a path to local home ownership for our teachers and classified employees. In 2018, the legislature passed bills providing school districts with a method to authorize bond sales to construct workforce housing for our employees. After studying this issue for many years, the Patterson Unified School District Board of Trustees authorized Measure N to allow our community to construct housing on district property for our teachers and staff at minimal cost to local taxpayers.

Under Measure N, employees will be able to live in district housing at below-market rents, while saving for the purchase of a home in our community. The property will be professionally managed and additional revenue after operational expenses will help maintain school facilities and student programs during difficult economic times that may lie ahead.

As a district, we take our responsibility to manage our fiscal resources for the benefit of our children and community very seriously. We believe that the tangible results seen in facility and technology upgrades at our schools, vocational training programs for high school youth and adults in our community, and the beautiful new theater we will soon be constructing are all evidence of the worthwhile investments we have made with local bond dollars and the trust established with our community over the past decade. We have also successfully brought millions of dollars in grants to Patterson. These grants have supplemented local tax dollars, helped local businesses, and allowed us to aggressively pursue enhanced educational opportunities for the benefit of Patterson’s children.

We have been prudent in pursuing bonds and Patterson’s schools maintain some of the lowest bond obligations in our region. For example, neighboring Newman-Crows Landing School District with 3,225 students has outstanding bonds of $141.91 per $100,000 of assessed value (.05 cents per student). Patterson with 6,077 students has outstanding bonds of $117.47 per $100,000 of assessed value (.02 cents per student). Measure N would increase this to only .03 cents per student.

Unlike state or county bonds, citizens are guaranteed that 100% of Patterson’s Measure N dollars will be spent to benefit Patterson; not other communities. A local citizen bond oversight committee will regulate these expenditures to make sure all dollars are spent as intended, and our elected board will solicit input from employees, parents, and other community stakeholders in the design and execution of the building plans.

Measure N is a winning proposition for all, and we encourage you to vote Yes on Measure N!

Michele Bays

President, Patterson Unified School District Board of Trustees

Philip M. Alfano, Ed. D

Superintendent, Patterson Unified School District

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