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Education was a hot topic this election season.
In addition to Proposition 30, a statewide tax hike to increase education funding, 106 California school districts floated bond measures on the Nov. 6 ballot.
San Diego County had its fair share of hopeful districts. Eleven of the 106 bond measures were local. Nine county K-12 school districts and two community college districts proposed bonds.
The County Registrar of Voters is still counting about 70,000 votes, but seven of the bond measures have almost certainly passed at this point: Voters OK’d the bonds in the Cajon Valley Union School District, Dehesa Elementary School District, Chula Vista Elementary School District, South Bay Union School District, San Dieguito Union High School District, San Diego Unified School District and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
In total, those districts will borrow nearly $4 billion in coming years for construction and modernization in local schools.
Let’s take a look at each of the districts.
Successful Bond Measures
• Proposition C: Cajon Valley Union School District: $88.4 million in reauthorization bonds. Approved with 57.41 percent.
The Cajon Valley district has been working to update its facilities since the early 2000s. About half of the district’s 28 schools were built in the 1940s and 1950s.
The new bond measure is part of an existing program passed in February 2008 — Proposition D, in which voters approved the district selling $156.5 million in general obligation bonds.
The district will now continue working on its promised projects, including a gymnasium at Greenfield Middle School and rebuilding two elementary schools.
• Proposition D: Dehesa Elementary School District: $3 million in reauthorization bonds. Approved with 55.20 percent.
Dehesa, a one-school district in El Cajon, is continuing to work on projects from a previous $5.5 million bond measure approved by voters in 2010.
The K-8 school has hefty goals. Some of the items on its construction wish-list include upgrading classrooms with computers and technology, creating a new science lab, constructing permanent classrooms to replace portable classrooms and building a library, administrative offices and an outdoor pavilion.
• Proposition E: Chula Vista Elementary School District: $90 million in new bonds. Approved with 67.66 percent.
The largest K-8 school district in the state, Chula Vista’s bond focuses on upgrades at 31 of its 45 school sites.
The district will install infrastructure to sustain schools for the next 30 years, including wireless technology and enhancing energy efficiency.
• Proposition Y: South Bay Union School District: $26 million in reauthorization bonds. Approved with 75.03 percent.
South Bay’s measure garnered the highest support among local voters.
The district will continue working on projects promised to voters in November 2008 under Proposition X, a $59.4 million bond measure.
Some of those projects include modernization of seven elementary schools and improvements to facility, sewage systems and new restrooms at a handful of campuses.
Prior to Proposition X, voters also approved a bond in 1997 for multipurpose rooms and restroom facilities.
• Proposition Z: San Diego Unified School District: $2.8 billion in new bonds. Approved with 61.1 percent.
San Diego Unified’s bond was the largest requested bond amount in the state this election.
The district plans to use the new bond funds to address facility improvement needs that were discovered during the planning stages of the district’s current and ongoing bond program, Proposition S, a $2.1 billion program approved by voters in November 2008.
The district also plans to save its day-to-day budget from looming cuts by using bond money to replace other funds that have been paying for maintenance and technology upgrades.
• Proposition AA: San Dieguito Union High School District: $449 million in new bonds. Approved with 55.3 percent.
The San Dieguito district is focusing on improving its North County campuses by providing district-wide technology upgrades for a 21st century learning environment. The district, citing overcrowding in its classrooms, also wants to build two new middle school campuses and modernize a handful of other schools.
The last time the district floated a bond measure was in June 1991. It was unsuccessful.
• Proposition V: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges: $398 million in new bonds. Approved with 57.35 percent.
More than a dozen buildings on Grossmont’s El Cajon campus date back to the college’s opening in 1961. The district plans to renovate and modernize building infrastructure, replacing deteriorating roofs and repairing and upgrading electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems.
Improving technology infrastructure and sustainability is a core priority across the district, as is improvements to college skills laboratories for science, medical, public safety and green-technology programs.
Failed Bond Measures
• Proposition G: Mountain Empire Unified School District: $30.8 million in new bonds. Failed with 44.69 percent.
The Mountain Empire district wanted to upgrade classrooms, science labs and facilities at six of its southeast San Diego campuses. Some areas of need included replacing portables, technology upgrades, renewable energy projects and safe, accessible travel paths.
The district floated a bond proposal for the same amount in June 2012, which also failed.
• Proposition R: Ramona Unified School District: $66 million in new bonds. Failed with 49.85 percent.
Ramona wanted to modernize and repair its existing schools. The district tried emphasizing $5.9 million in deferred maintenance and highlighted problems such as leaky roofs and deteriorating portable classrooms.
A portion of the funds would also have been used to pay off loans the district issued in recent years to build 14 middle schools classrooms, two elementary schools and high school projects.
Voters also denied the district a $25 million bond measure in March 2002.
• Proposition CC: Del Mar Union Elementary School District: $76.8 million in new bonds. Failed with 54.17 percent (needed 55 percent to pass).
This bond almost squeaked through, but with almost all the votes counted, it’s looking like Del Mar Unified’s bond has failed.
In addition to repairing and replacing leaky roofs and worn floors, some of the funds from the bond would have paid for instructional technology improvements and modernized classroom facilities.
• Proposition EE: MiraCosta Community Colleges: $497 million in new bonds. Failed with 54.31 percent (needed 55 percent to pass).
Another close race, voters denied the community college district in coastal North County from borrowing more money.
The district, which estimates that nearly 20,000 students will attend its three colleges by 2020, wanted to expand medical and science laboratories, upgrade outdated electrical systems and technologies and make adjustments for accessibility standards.
Holly Pablo is an investigative intern at Voice of San Diego. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0525.
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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.