The Nov. 8 ballot will include an important bond measure, as well as numerous races for state, federal and local representatives. On July 31, the Hemet Unified School District Board of Trustees approved a resolution to place a $150-million bond measure on the ballot.
The board gave unanimous consent to asking voters for their approval. “Yes” votes will be needed from 55 percent of the voters casting ballots for approval.
“All schools will benefit from the funds,” said Alexandrea Sponheim, HUSD public information officer. “The types of projects include security measures, modernizing the classrooms and roof replacements.”
For residents, approval of the bond will not increase property taxes. The cost to finance this bond will not exceed the 2016-17 tax rates for previous measures, said Vincent Christakos, assistant superintendent of Business Services.
“If the bond passes, it will not affect the current assessment on property taxes. It merely extends the current contribution,” said Hill HUSD trustee Vic Scavarda.
“Another compelling reason to attempt to pass a bond would be to enable the District to qualify for matching funds from the state of California as they become available. So we get twice the bang for the buck than if we tried to fund some projects alone,” he added.
Bond proceeds will be limited to the construction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities, and equipping and furnishing facilities or acquiring real property for school facilities, according to the bond language.
Examples of projects include replacing drinking fountains; metal detectors and gates; classroom, gym and library improvements; renewable energy systems; replacing portable classroom buildings with modular or permanent buildings; and lab tools.
“I have seen a lengthy list of possible projects that might be funded from the proceeds of the bond issue, but they have not been finalized as yet,” Scavarda noted. “As you know, parts of Idyllwild School are very old, and will need to be upgraded and refurbished in the coming years. The original building was constructed in the 1950s and 1960s; and will continue to need attention.”
Idyllwild School may undergo slight rehabilitation to accommodate the need for a larger administrative area, Christakos said.
A Citizens’ Oversight Committee will be established to review the HUSD use of the funds and ensure it goes for projects listed in the ballot measure, according to Christakos.
“Over the past year, we have prioritized community listening — with 42 school stakeholder meetings with over 1,200 participants, and over 500 individual community conversations,” wrote HUSD Superintendent Dr. Christi Barrett.
From a recent survey of residents, the top two priorities were repairing and upgrading facilities and improving student safety and security. The proposed projects reflect these preferences.