The Board of Education unanimously approved asking voters in November to support a $90 million bond issue that would modernize and renovate 31 of the District’s oldest schools. With voter approval, a School Facilities Improvement District (SFID) would be authorized to finance improvements at the 31 schools. The improvements generally fall under three major categories: infrastructure, wireless technology, and energy efficiency. The SFID would cover areas that are not already assessed as part of a Mello Roos/Community Facilities District (CFD). The SFID will not increase tax assessments on CFD parcels; property owners of CFD parcels already pay additional special tax assessments for school construction.
Given currently low construction costs and historically low interest rates, District officials said it is in the best interests of the students and residents of the proposed improvement district to provide funding to meet critical facilities needs now by means of a general obligation bond. Nearly half of the targeted schools were originally built between 1938 and 1959; most of the rest in the SFID were built in the 1960s. Board President Pamela B. Smith said the proposal is well thought out and supports the schools that need it the most.
“When you look at how old those schools are, and the issue of technology alone, we have to have the infrastructure to support the technology or we will leave our kids behind,” Smith said.