When they go to the polls on November 4, Victor Valley voters will once again be asked to reach into their wallets and help fund Victor Valley College.


Measure JJ is a $297,500,000 general obligation bond, the first major bond since the school's founding. In 2006, voters voted down Measure X, a $338 million bond, by a 53 to 47 percent margin.


"If it doesn't pass this time, we'll be back for a third one," VVC President Bob Silverman said. "We've got no choice in this matter."


The problem, he said, is in VVC's success: The school has seen rapid growth over the last few years, especially as the economy has slowed, and the current campus, reliant on an increasingly congested Bear Valley Road, is starting to lack for elbow room.


"The school is essentially going to be full" if the student body continues to grow at its current 15 percent annual growth rate, Silverman said. Current enrollment is approximately 14,000. Bear Valley Road, which provides the only access to the campus, "has become a parking lot. ... We need to get off this site."


In addition to paying off $54 million in existing debt -- debt payments cost the college $3 million annually -- Measure JJ will fund the construction of the Workforce Development Center, a VVC satellite campus to be built on the southeast corner of Main Street and US 395.


The center would focus on health care programs, hospitality (hotel and restaurant management) classes and a logistics program intended to provide employees for the Southern California Logistics Airport in Adelanto.


"The trick is to get the workforce in place when the economy starts growing again."


The bond would also pay for an emergency services training facility in Apple Valley.


If approved, Measure JJ will cost property owners just under $20 a year for every $100,000 their property is valued at. For the owner of a $250,000 house -- about average in the Victor Valley -- that comes out to $45 a year.


The bond issuance will actually be split up into four separate issuances, said Ginger Ontiveros, the executive director of the Victor Valley College Foundation, but that won't change the amount taxpayers will end up paying: "The tax rate is based on the total package of bond issues. The average property owner in the High Desert will spend less than a $1 a week to ensure that our college can provide job training that helps people get and keep high-paying jobs."


"I think there's always been a general sentiment up here that they don't want to pay taxes," Silverman said. "You know what? No one in the world wants to pay taxes. ... This is the time to invest."


Should the bond pass, Silverman expects construction will begin on the Hesperia campus in approximately 18 months, and take about two years.


"This is do or die," Silverman said. "That means we're going to do it."


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.