OC school boards approve bond measures for the November ballot

Add Capistrano Unified, Anaheim Elementary and Centralia to the list of Orange County school districts that will place facilities bond measures in the hands of local voters come November.

An image of Stoddard Elementary School in the Anaheim Elementary School District

Last week, school boards for the Capistrano Unified, Anaheim Elementary and Centralia school districts approved facilities bond measures for the November election. The Orange and Brea Olinda unified school districts have also announced they’ll be placing bond measures on the Nov. 8 ballot, with the goal of repairing, upgrading and modernizing facilities. Pictured is Stoddard Elementary School in the Anaheim Elementary School District.

As we shared last month, the Orange and Brea Olinda unified school districts have already announced they’ll be placing bond measures on the Nov. 8 ballot with the goal of repairing, upgrading and modernizing facilities.

Last week, trustees for the Anaheim Elementary School District voted similarly to move forward with a $318 million facilities bond measure, while the Centralia School District board voted to place a $49 million bond measure on the ballot. A day later, the Capistrano Unified School District board approved putting an $889 million measure before voters.

Capistrano Unified School District

Capo school board members, at their regular meeting on Aug. 10, voted 6-1 to place a School Facility Improvement District bond measure on the ballot, excluding voters in Rancho Mission Viejo community. (As CUSD’s newest community, residents there will not have a school until fall 2018.)

If approved, the measure would provide up to $889 million to fund repairs and upgrades, improve technology infrastructure and create classrooms that support 21st-century learning. District officials say the bonds, which could also help CUSD qualify for up to $229 million in state matching funds, would cost property owners an estimated $43 per $100,000 of assessed value annually over the life of the program. The district has more details here.

“We believe that the success of our students is reliant upon our ability to provide a safe and healthy learning environment that also reflects 21st-century learning,” CUSD school board President Amy Hanacek said. “While our staff and teachers ensure that each of our schools are kept clean and secure, 70 percent of our classrooms were built over 20 years ago and are in need of modernization and upgrades.”

Anaheim Elementary School District

Anaheim Elementary’s Board of Education voted unanimously on Aug. 9 to place a $318 million bond measure on the Nov. 8 ballot, saying the funding is necessary to improve and repair campus buildings and district facilities. If approved, the measure would cost property owners within the district an estimated $24 per $100,000 of assessed value annually.

“Our needs are great,” Superintendent Dr. Linda Wagner said. “While we have made significant progress over the last 15 years, many of our facilities have received minimal updates and require substantial improvements to support high-quality instruction.”

Anaheim Elementary recently completed a study of its urgent and critical facility needs, compiling data on the age of its schools, student safety, the potential for overcrowding, class-size reduction and technology. Priorities were outlined in a long-range facility master plan. More information is here.

Centralia School District

The Centralia School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Aug. 9 to place a $49 million bond measure on the ballot. Measure N, according to the district, would upgrade classrooms and labs to keep pace with technology, and it would repair aging facilities to meet modern safety standards. It could also make the district eligible for state matching funds when and if they become available.

“Most Centralia schools were built more than 50 years ago and require extensive repairs and upgrades so they can continue to serve our community well for decades to come,” Centralia school board President Connor Traut said. “Students really need modern science labs and access to technology to succeed in this changing world. Measure N is essential for our students’ continued success.”

Established in 1875, Centralia includes eight elementary schools located in the cities of Buena Park, Anaheim and La Palma, serving approximately 4,500 students. The cost of Measure N would be limited to $24 per $100,000 in assessed value annually, or about $69 per year for the typical homeowner living within CESD’s boundaries. You can find additional details here.

Legal requirements and oversight

The threshold for passing facilities bond measures in California is 55 percent, and by law all money generated from them must be spent to build, repair or upgrade facilities and infrastructure, as well as to purchase equipment.

These dollars cannot be used to pay for employee salaries or benefits, nor can they be used to offset operational costs. State law further requires the formation of an independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee to monitor bond expenditures.