Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The San Diego Unified School District can begin making plans for a $2.8 billion bond issue, thanks to voters' approval of Proposition Z.
District officials said the money generated by the "San Diego Neighborhood Schools Classroom Safety and Repair Measure of 2012" bond will fund projects including asbestos and mold removal; wiring, plumbing and roof repairs; and ongoing maintenance. It would also go toward improvements in disabled access and upgraded fire alarms and security systems.
"This is San Diego money going to San Diego schools that Sacramento cannot touch," said John Lee Evans, president of the Board of Education, in an interview with KUSI television. "This is an indication that the people of San Diego really believe in our public schools."
The bond issue will add a maximum of $60 in taxes per $100,000 of assessed value of properties within the district's boundaries, according to the district. The district will establish an oversight committee and conventional financing will be used, not capital appreciation bonds.
Voters approved a $2.1 billion bond issue in 2008.
Opponents argued the district had yet to spend the majority of the money authorized under that bond, and should finish those projects before increasing taxes again. The proposed bond issue also lacks safeguards against balloon payments or high-interest financing, opponents contend, adding that long-term financing should not be used on technology that would only be used for a few years.
Evans also won re-election during Tuesday's election. The psychologist and former teacher -- who came in second place in the June primary -- bested university instructor Mark Powell by a narrow margin.
Powell said he could no longer stand by as education was undermined by misguided leadership and poor decisions.
Evans said the district has come a long way in four years, despite the worst budget crisis in a generation. During his term, the district spared 1,500 teachers from layoffs, cut millions in administration costs and saw improvements in students' test scores, Evans said.
Board member Richard Barrera ran unopposed to represent south and central San Diego's sub-district D.
Marne Foster defeated William Ponder in the election to replace outgoing Trustee Shelia Jackson, who represents Southeast San Diego. Foster is a community college teacher and administrator, and Ponder worked as a teacher and university administrator before retiring and has written two books on education.