Orange, CA – July 25, 2016 – The Orange Unified School District Trustees voted unanimously at the July 21, 2016 Board of Education meeting to place a “District Classroom & Facility Safety, Modernization and Renovation Measure” on the November ballot.
This measure, if approved by at least fifty-five percent of voters within District boundaries, would allow Orange Unified to issue up to $288,000,000 in bonds to finance school safety and modernization projects. Proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by voters would be spent equally among the District’s four high schools: Canyon, El Modena, Orange, and Villa Park. Additionally, approval of this measure will make the District eligible for approximately $60 million in state matching funds that would otherwise go to other eligible school districts.
Specific projects authorized in the proposition include the addition of classrooms and labs for career education and advanced sciences courses required for college and university admission, enhancement of instructional technology throughout campus, retrofitting of buildings for earthquake safety, and upgrades to core infrastructure, campus security and emergency systems.
Legally, bond funds can ONLY be spent on construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or to lease property for school facilities, and NOT for any other purpose, such as teacher and administrator salaries and other operating expenses. The bond would not affect the District’s general fund reserve, nor the legally required amount of non-bond proceeds for routine restricted maintenance. Passage of the bond would require the District to adhere to accountability measures, including annual independent financial and performance audits and the formation of a Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee to ensure that all funds are spent properly and as promised to the voters.
“Our 2014 school bond fell less than 200 votes short of the threshold to pass. While disappointing, we took this as an opportunity to reach out and listen even more carefully to OUSD voters in an effort to develop a proposal that our community can support,” stated Superintendent of Schools Michael Christensen. “Our job at Orange Unified School District is to ensure that our students succeed—whether pursuing college or landing a good paying job directly after high school graduation. Schools, technology and science labs need to be updated if OUSD students are expected to have the same opportunities as others to succeed.”
Taxpayers can expect to pay about $29 per $100,000 of ASSESSED property value, as opposed to market value, should the bond pass. Property owners eligible for a property tax exemption, such as the homeowner’s exemption, would be taxed at a lower effective rate.
The bond measure will be presented to voters at the statewide general election on November 8, 2016.