Why did the District call for a bond election?
The schools in the District are aging. They are in need of major modernization, renovations, repairs and enhancements if they are to continue to serve future generations of students. Significant facility upgrades are necessary if our schools are to continue to serve the community and meet the educational needs of students today. In addition, three new schools must be built to reduce overcrowding. The combined cost can no longer be funded from the District’s annual maintenance budget. Our elementary students need a safe and secure environment to learn.
What is a General Obligation bond?
General Obligation (G.O.) bonds fund the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of schools; including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities. Similar to a mortgage on a new home, most G.O. bonds are repaid over 25 years. Repayment comes from a tax on real property located within the District’s boundaries: agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial. This funding method is widely used by school districts throughout California and many school districts in Kern County.
How would the students benefit by improving the schools?
Three new schools would be built to reduce overcrowding. Students would be provided modern facilities by making upgrades to classroom electrical systems to accommodate computers and modern technology. Improved security measures would be provided at all school sites. A local measure would also make the District eligible to receive an estimated $57 million in State-matching funds to help pay for these projects.
The schools look good. Why is a bond needed for Bakersfield City Schools?
Our maintenance staff does an excellent job of annually maintaining our schools. Unfortunately, our schools are old. Our newest school was built in 1993 and our oldest was constructed in 1930. Plumbing systems are deteriorating and electrical service in classrooms is inadequate. The amount of improvements required can no longer be funded on an annual maintenance basis.
What safeguards does Measure ìGî provide for taxpayers?
Taxpayer safeguards have been incorporated into the design of Measure ìGî. Pursuant to Proposition 39, the maximum tax will not exceed $30 per $100,000 of assessed value (not market value, which usually exceeds the
Prop. 13 protected assessed value amount). An independent oversight committee comprised of local citizens and taxpayers has been created. A detailed project list of proposed expenditures has been prepared. The citizensí oversight committee will be required to oversee annual audits and ensure bond money is used only for voter-approved school improvements and repairs and not for administrator or teacher salaries. No employees or vendors of the District may sit on the oversight committee.
What can the District do with the bond money?
Under State Law, bond money can only be used to acquire, construct, furnish, equip or improve school facilities. All bond proceeds would be used locally in the District to make improvements to our schools and cannot be taken away by the State.
What would Measure ìGî cost taxpayers, and how would it be assessed?
The tax would cost the average homeowner $25.77 per year. The tax rate is determined by the assessed valuation. Do not confuse assessed valuation with market value. Assessed valuation is the value placed on property by the County pursuant to Proposition 13 and is typically much lower than the market value for which a property may be sold.
What about using lottery money for these projects?
Lottery money makes up less than 2% of the school district’s budget and can only be used for specific programs. By law, lottery money cannot be used for construction or repairs of school facilities.
Who can vote in the November 7th election?
All the registered voters who live within the boundaries of the Bakersfield City School District are eligible to vote on Measure ìGî. The last day to register to vote is October 23rd. The District wants our community to be aware of our needs and how our students will benefit from our Master Facilities Plan. Hopefully, this information has answered your questions.