Questions and Answers
Potential Facilities Bond for SRVUSD
Q: Why does SRVUSD need to upgrade its schools?
A: The San Ramon Valley Unified School District is committed to providing all students with a quality education in a safe and well-maintained learning environment. Student achievement is among the best in the state, however, our schools need to be upgraded to prevent overcrowding and ensure we have enough classrooms so students can attend their neighborhood school. Up-to-date technology and science labs are needed to support a 21st-century learning environment. Additionally, many of our schools have been renovated, yet others are in need of repairs and upgrades. A bond measure would provide our students with a modern and safe learning environment that prepares them to succeed in college and future careers.
Q:How would this potential bond measure protect quality education in our schools?
A: The bond measure would address key upgrades and school repairs to provide a safe, 21st-century learning environment and avoid school overcrowding by:
- Keeping schools clean, well-maintained and in good condition
- Providing enough classrooms so that children can attend their neighborhood school
- Updating technology infrastructure for 21st-century learning
- Renovating science labs
- Upgrading fire and earthquake safety
- Bringing all schools in the district up to the same standards for facilities, technology and infrastructure
Q: Is this measure fiscally accountable?
A: The potential measure would include fiscal oversight and accountability.
- An independent citizen oversight committee would review all expenditures and report to the community in order to ensure funds are spent wisely on voter-approved projects
- No funds could be used for administrators’ salaries or benefits
- Annual, third-party audits would be required
- This measure would qualify our school district for future state matching funds to maximize
Q: Is there any other way to fund these repairs?
A: The State does not provide the funding we need to renovate our local schools. Our schools need safety upgrades, up-to-date technology and science labs, as well as additional classrooms to prevent overcrowding and provide a safe learning environment. With $290 million of facility needs, which is 50% larger than the District’s annual budget, the only way to upgrade our schools is to pass a local school bond measure. We need our bond measure to pass to access any funds from the State.
Q. Can the State take any of these funds?
A: No. Every penny of this measure would stay in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. No funds could be taken away by the State.
Q: Why is this measure needed now?
A: Over time, our facilities will continue to get older and costs to upgrade our schools will increase. With a growing student enrollment, many of our schools are becoming overcrowded and students are not able to attend their neighborhood schools. It is essential that we protect our community’s investment in our schools and the education we provide for our students. By acting now, we can take advantage of historically low construction costs and interest rates and maximize bond funds. A local measure would ensure our students have the academic foundation they need to be prepared to excel in the 21st-century economy.
Q: Would this measure help improve the energy efficiency of our schools and save the District money?
A: Yes. By improving the energy and operational efficiency of our schools, a bond measure would help provide annual savings that can relieve the general fund and go directly into the classroom to support retaining qualified teachers and protecting academic programs.
Q: Have we passed a bond measure before?
A: Yes. In 1998 and 2002, local voters overwhelmingly approved two local bond measures to renovate our schools. These measures helped to provide additional schools and address our most urgent safety and repair needs at that time. The measures could not address all of our needs. Funding was augmented by an additional 50% in state matching funds. Additionally, our district obtained millions in developer funds to maximize taxpayer dollars. All projects were completed on time and under budget. Now, 10 years later, we have facilities that have new needs. Our schools need basic upgrades to ensure student safety and maintain up-to-date classrooms that support a 21st-century education. As more families move to our community, we need additional classrooms to prevent overcrowding.
Q: What would the measure cost property owners?
A: The District is still exploring the bond program by working with community-led Facilities and Bond Exploratory Committees. The total cost to the property owner would be based on the size of the bond and the projects that are needed in the district. We anticipate that the total cost to property owners would be between $20-$30 per $100,000 of assessed property value. The assessed value of your home is determined by the Contra Costa County Assessor’s office on an annual basis and it is not the same as the market value.
Q: Would this measure allow our schools to qualify for State matching funds?
A: Yes. If this measure passes, our schools would qualify for additional funding from the State. These matching funds are only available to our schools if we pass a local bond measure and would allow us to maximize our bond funds, increasing the repairs and upgrades to our local schools. California schools can only access state matching funds by passing a local bond measure.
Q:How is the District seeking input on the potential Facilities Bond?
A: The Superintendent has put together an exploratory committee of parents, teachers, staff and community leaders to research the possibility of a facilities bond, as well as the amount and specific school projects associated with a bond. The committee will be providing a suggested report of bond projects. The District held a series of forums in January and February as well as meetings at school sites to gather feedback and provide information.
Q: Which repairs and upgrades will be completed at my school and which projects will benefit all schools in the district?
A: While some schools have been upgraded and repaired, others have not. Therefore, not all schools will be experiencing major renovation projects, but all schools would benefit from the potential measure. The SRVUSD Facilities Committees are continuing to review facility needs, some of which could be included in the bond, in conjunction with an architect to determine a proposed list for the School Board to consider at its April 3, 2012 meeting. At that time, a proposed list of repairs and upgrades on a per-site basis will be available for the community and will be on the district website.
All schools will benefit from upgraded technology. Each of our schools requires technology infrastructure upgrades for student access, computers and other learning technology—and all will benefit. Additionally, by accommodating for a growing student enrollment, we can better ensure that students will be able to attend schools in their own neighborhoods, which helps all of our schools avoid overcrowding.
Q: How can I get more information or ask questions?
A: For more information, please contact the Office of the Superintendent at (925) 552-2933.