Alameda Unified School District's Board of Education voted 4-1 on June 24 to place a $179.5 million facilities general obligation bond on the ballot in November, 2014.
The proposed bond implementation plan is based on the 2014 Facilities Master Plan. That plan, which was based on formal site assessments, a demographic analysis, school site meetings, and community-wide meetings, identified $585 million worth of facility repairs, upgrades, and improvements needed to modernize and make safe the district's schools.
According to an implementation plan approved by the Board of Education on June 10, approximately half of the $179.5 million on the November ballot would go to improving elementary and middle schools, including replacing failing boilers, roofs, plumbing, and electrical systems, improving seismic safety, repairing windows and doors, modernizing classrooms, upgrading computer and science labs, replacing certain portables with permanent classrooms, and making all facilities more energy efficient. The funds will also be used to upgrade technology and safety and security systems at all elementary, middle, and charter schools.
The remaining half of the bond authority would be retained for future issuance, while the Board of Education and broader community formulate a vision for the district's high schools, including whether the district should have two high schools or one high school.
If the bond measure passes, property owners will pay a maximum of $60 per $100,000 of assessed value for their property per year. The bonds will not be "capital appreciation bonds" (long-term bonds with ballooning payments that have received criticism in recent years). Instead, they will be issued as current interest bonds for a term of no longer than 25 years. All of the funds will go to facilities work (not administrator salaries). Both independent auditors and a citizen oversight committee will monitor the district's expenditures of the funds.
The 75-word statement about the bond measure for the November 4 ballot will read:
Alameda Local School Improvement Measure. “To improve schools to provide high quality education by renovating neighborhood schools, improving earthquake safety and student security, upgrading science and computer labs, improving heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems, replacing leaky roofs, windows, and doors, installing solar systems, and renovating, constructing, and acquiring classrooms, sites, facilities, and equipment, shall Alameda Unified School District issue $179,500,000 in bonds at legal rates, with annual audits and citizen oversight, no funds for administrator salaries and all funds benefiting neighborhood schools?”
—Information submitted by Alameda Unified School District