A possible new bond measure on next year’s election ballot will be explored when the Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees meets on Tuesday night.
The district says it “has an opportunity to fund approximately $120 million” for possible future projects like revamping Vintage Hills Elementary, building a career and technical education campus, and general facility and equipment upgrades.
Last year, the trustees approved the district's Facilities Master Plan, which estimates a total of $846 million is needed to complete projects at all 15 campuses. Some are already covered by the $270 million Measure I1 bond from 2016, but about three dozen other remain unfunded, including $6.34 million for traffic mitigation related to redesigning the Donlon Elementary School property to split it among a kindergarten-to-third-grade campus and a new school for fourth and fifth grades.
The board will review that list and consider conducting a survey for community feedback on those projects.
The concept of a new bond measure was first floated last year, but trustees at the time questioned whether it was fair to approach voters after Measure I1 passing just a few years ago and projects like building a new elementary school not being completed.
Voters approved the $270 million bond measure, which taxes homeowners $49 per $100,000 of their assessed property value every year, in November 2016. Measure I1 revenue is restricted to spending on repairing and upgrading local classrooms and facilities and buying new equipment; none may be used for administrative salaries. There is just over $145.5 million left in funding to allocate for projects on the Measure I1 list.
The board will receive two other related reports Tuesday night, including the latest enrollment projections from Davis Demographics.
The consultant's presentation will focus on updated projections based on the district's current K-5 elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.
District staff will then lead a report on district finances. Some recent budget changes, including $4 million in budget reductions to afford a recent 2.5% compensation increase, will be examined and, pending another state budget revision this spring, officials say more may be needed.
Special education contributions in district schools have increased by $1 million and local revenues have grown by the same amount “because the district is in receipt of a partial insurance claim from the Harvest Park fire.”
Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his 2019-20 state budget, which includes a one-time $3 billion payment to CalSTRS from the general fund to pay down pension debt. The payment is expected to address rising pension costs and reduce the out-year contribution rate by half a percentage point.
However, the district warns that if additional cost of living adjustment and STRS rate reduction recommendations in Newsom’s budget “do not materialize, the district will need to make approximately $670,000 in reductions before 2020/21.”
The school board's open-session regular meeting is scheduled to start Tuesday at 7 p.m. inside the district headquarters, 4665 Bernal Ave.
In other business
* The trustees will also vote on approving a contract to rebuild the fire-damaged library at Harvest Park Middle School.
A fire damaged the library last summer, as well as the campus-wide low-voltage systems. A 40-foot-by-48-foot portable has served since then as a temporary library.
District officials recommend rebuilding the existing library with insurance funds but not expanding the facility. School administration and a design team met recently for project scoping.
To stay on track, the district will need to rebuild in two phases, demolition and construction. The first phase would start this summer and continue with construction during the next school year. To minimize impact during school hours, construction on weekdays would start at 2 p.m. and end around 10 p.m.
Design work would be handled by HKIT Architects, the same firm currently designing new fencing at Harvest Park.
* Several other similar projects will also go to the board for approval Tuesday evening, including contractor bids for the architectural work for the new school and conversion project at Donlon Elementary School.
The board is expected to accept the lowest bid for approximately $2 million from Sugimura Finney Architects. For the moment though, additional traffic mitigation and a kids club expansion have not been included in those plans.
* Fiber optic and site network upgrades throughout the entire district will also be considered; last year Amador Valley High School served as the pilot phase site and received new copper cabling and new Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports, which grant access to security cameras, clocks, bells and voice over IP (VOIP) telephones.
The $4.5 million project will use Measure I1 funds for upgrades at the remaining schools to support a 40gig network backbone that’s expected to increase speed and bolster stability and security.
Work will start this spring at three schools --Foothill High, Walnut Grove Elementary and Pleasanton Middle schools -- and continue at other campuses until the end of next year. Lydiksen Elementary School is the only campus not included in the project and will receive its upgrades when the planned rebuild breaks ground at an undetermined time.