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Livermore school board approves $450M facilities bond measure for November election

Priority projects include upgrading classrooms, tech and ventilation systems, district says

The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District Board of Education recently approved a resolution calling for a $450 million general obligation facility bond as well as proposed ballot language to be submitted to voters on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

LVJUSD headquarters. (File photo)

The bond measure headed to the ballot this fall would go toward funding various improvements including upgrading 50-year-old classrooms and labs to meet current safety and instructional standards, providing career training facilities and equipment to students, upgrading classroom computers and tech infrastructure, replacing outdated plumbing and electrical infrastructure, replacing aging heating ventilation systems, replacing outdated portables with permanent classrooms and improving campus security gates, fencing and systems to enhance student safety, according to the district. 

"LVJUSD has carefully assessed the condition of school facilities and developed plans to bring all school facilities up to current safety and academic standards," district officials said in an agenda report.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the board during its first meeting of the 2022-23 school year on Aug. 9.

If approved by voters, the measure would cost approximately $60 per $100,000 of assessed valuation in property -- or 6 cents per $100, as the ballot question language cites -- while bonds are outstanding, district officials said.

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"It is of utmost importance to us that our community and our students take pride in our facilities and in many cases, that our facilities are transformed from what was built in the '50s and '60s into what is appropriate in the 2020s," said newly-appointed Superintendent Chris Van Schaack during the meeting.

Van Schaack also explained the background behind why schools look to their communities to fund large-scale renovation projects.

"In the state of California school construction, school renovation is considered to be the responsibility of the community. Not all states are like this, some states raise additional taxes for construction, some pay for it through other types of funding but in the state of California -- dating back to the 1970s -- when the legislature decided that for communities in California, school construction and renovation rests with the community itself."

He added that while the state sometimes offers matching funds, in order to access those funds the community must already "have money in the bucket." There are some other resources for funding smaller projects that he said LVJUSD utilizes such as collecting developer fees and selling surplus property but these other sources do not provide adequate funding for major construction projects.

Bond consultant Charles Heath of TBWBH Props & Measures shared results from a survey conducted in July with a sample size of 667 voters to gauge the community's willingness to support a bond measure at this time.

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According to Heath, the survey found that 67% of voters surveyed believe there is a need to upgrade school facilities. He also said that after providing a mock-up of the $450 million bond measure to survey-takers, which included the tax rate that would be associated and a summary of the types of projects that would be funded by the bonds, the results indicated that 64% of voters said that they would would vote yes on the proposal -- nine percentage points over the 55% passage threshold for bond measures in California.

Heath later explained that, "what allows you to extrapolate the results from 667 people to the tens of thousands of people who would vote in the election is the fact that it's carefully constructed to be representative -- so, the same proportion of men versus women and Democrats versus Republicans and old voters versus young voters and voters on this side of town versus that side of town as we expect to see in the election. Then within those categories, voters are randomly selected to participate in the survey."

Toward the end of the staff presentation, Van Schaack addressed that other Tri-Valley communities are also making improvements to their school campuses and Livermore should follow suit.

"The bottom line for many of us is our students deserve equal opportunities. As we see our neighbors up (Interstate 680) in San Ramon and Danville -- Pleasanton and Dublin upgrading their facilities, our students deserve no less," Van Schaack said.

The approved ballot question reads as follows:

"To upgrade aging classrooms, labs and job training facilities to meet safety / instructional standards and support science, technology, engineering and math instruction; fix leaky roofs / deteriorating plumbing / electrical / heating / cooling systems; keep instructional technology up-to-date; and improve security / fire / earthquake safety shall Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District's measure issuing $450,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, approximately 6¢ per $100 assessed value while bonds are outstanding ($30,000,000 annually) be adopted, with independent oversight, audits and no funds for administrator salaries?"

This measure marks LVJUSD's second ballot initiative to go before voters this year.

In May, LVJUSD held a special mail-only election to renew a $138 parcel tax for another seven years. District officials said at the time that the parcel tax funding is used for providing elementary science and TK-12 technology specialists, attracting and retaining qualified teachers, keeping classroom technology and curriculum up-to-date and maintaining small class sizes.

After an Alameda County Superior Court judge sided with the school district in a lawsuit filed by two local taxpayer groups, the Measure A parcel tax renewal election narrowly cleared the two-thirds supermajority threshold by less than one percentage point.

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Cierra Bailey
   
Cierra started her journalism career after college as an editorial intern with the Pleasanton Weekly in 2014. After pursuing opportunities in digital and broadcast media and attending graduate school at Syracuse University, she’s back as the editor of the Vine. Read more >>

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Livermore school board approves $450M facilities bond measure for November election

Priority projects include upgrading classrooms, tech and ventilation systems, district says

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Aug 16, 2022, 9:31 pm

The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District Board of Education recently approved a resolution calling for a $450 million general obligation facility bond as well as proposed ballot language to be submitted to voters on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The bond measure headed to the ballot this fall would go toward funding various improvements including upgrading 50-year-old classrooms and labs to meet current safety and instructional standards, providing career training facilities and equipment to students, upgrading classroom computers and tech infrastructure, replacing outdated plumbing and electrical infrastructure, replacing aging heating ventilation systems, replacing outdated portables with permanent classrooms and improving campus security gates, fencing and systems to enhance student safety, according to the district. 

"LVJUSD has carefully assessed the condition of school facilities and developed plans to bring all school facilities up to current safety and academic standards," district officials said in an agenda report.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the board during its first meeting of the 2022-23 school year on Aug. 9.

If approved by voters, the measure would cost approximately $60 per $100,000 of assessed valuation in property -- or 6 cents per $100, as the ballot question language cites -- while bonds are outstanding, district officials said.

"It is of utmost importance to us that our community and our students take pride in our facilities and in many cases, that our facilities are transformed from what was built in the '50s and '60s into what is appropriate in the 2020s," said newly-appointed Superintendent Chris Van Schaack during the meeting.

Van Schaack also explained the background behind why schools look to their communities to fund large-scale renovation projects.

"In the state of California school construction, school renovation is considered to be the responsibility of the community. Not all states are like this, some states raise additional taxes for construction, some pay for it through other types of funding but in the state of California -- dating back to the 1970s -- when the legislature decided that for communities in California, school construction and renovation rests with the community itself."

He added that while the state sometimes offers matching funds, in order to access those funds the community must already "have money in the bucket." There are some other resources for funding smaller projects that he said LVJUSD utilizes such as collecting developer fees and selling surplus property but these other sources do not provide adequate funding for major construction projects.

Bond consultant Charles Heath of TBWBH Props & Measures shared results from a survey conducted in July with a sample size of 667 voters to gauge the community's willingness to support a bond measure at this time.

According to Heath, the survey found that 67% of voters surveyed believe there is a need to upgrade school facilities. He also said that after providing a mock-up of the $450 million bond measure to survey-takers, which included the tax rate that would be associated and a summary of the types of projects that would be funded by the bonds, the results indicated that 64% of voters said that they would would vote yes on the proposal -- nine percentage points over the 55% passage threshold for bond measures in California.

Heath later explained that, "what allows you to extrapolate the results from 667 people to the tens of thousands of people who would vote in the election is the fact that it's carefully constructed to be representative -- so, the same proportion of men versus women and Democrats versus Republicans and old voters versus young voters and voters on this side of town versus that side of town as we expect to see in the election. Then within those categories, voters are randomly selected to participate in the survey."

Toward the end of the staff presentation, Van Schaack addressed that other Tri-Valley communities are also making improvements to their school campuses and Livermore should follow suit.

"The bottom line for many of us is our students deserve equal opportunities. As we see our neighbors up (Interstate 680) in San Ramon and Danville -- Pleasanton and Dublin upgrading their facilities, our students deserve no less," Van Schaack said.

The approved ballot question reads as follows:

"To upgrade aging classrooms, labs and job training facilities to meet safety / instructional standards and support science, technology, engineering and math instruction; fix leaky roofs / deteriorating plumbing / electrical / heating / cooling systems; keep instructional technology up-to-date; and improve security / fire / earthquake safety shall Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District's measure issuing $450,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, approximately 6¢ per $100 assessed value while bonds are outstanding ($30,000,000 annually) be adopted, with independent oversight, audits and no funds for administrator salaries?"

This measure marks LVJUSD's second ballot initiative to go before voters this year.

In May, LVJUSD held a special mail-only election to renew a $138 parcel tax for another seven years. District officials said at the time that the parcel tax funding is used for providing elementary science and TK-12 technology specialists, attracting and retaining qualified teachers, keeping classroom technology and curriculum up-to-date and maintaining small class sizes.

After an Alameda County Superior Court judge sided with the school district in a lawsuit filed by two local taxpayer groups, the Measure A parcel tax renewal election narrowly cleared the two-thirds supermajority threshold by less than one percentage point.

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