News

Voters overwhelmingly approve Ravenswood schools bond

Measure H will fund critical facilities needs throughout district

A $26 million bond measure on the June 7 ballot to fund major capital improvements throughout the Ravenswood City School District has passed with a wide margin of support, according to official election results provided by San Mateo County.

With all precincts reporting, 87.2 percent of voters supported Measure H, compared to 12.8 percent who voted against the measure. The bond required 55 percent to pass.

The total count of "yes" votes is 1,478 and "no" votes, 217, according to the county.

Measure H will provide the funding necessary for significant repairs and upgrades needed at all eight of the district's school sites, which are more than 50 years old and serve more than 3,400 students from preschool through eighth grade.

In past years, the district has had to use buckets to catch rain falling through aging roofs when it rained; to bring in portable, electric space heaters when Costaño Elementary School lost heat due to a gas leak last winter (and was eventually forced to close temporarily); to repair a sewer line under Brentwood Elementary School that recently cracked, among other emergency, piecemeal repairs.

District leadership characterized the measure — whose slogan was "warm, safe and dry" — as critical to help maintain these basic elements of a learning environment.

Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff and board President Ana Pulido told the Weekly Wednesday morning they were confident the measure would pass and thankful to voters eager to support the schools.

"By passing this bond measure with such an overwhelming majority, they're really showing us that they are supportive of the direction that we're taking as a district and board," Hernandez-Goff said.

Measure H will fund improvements including new roofs at all the schools; upgraded heating, ventilating, air conditioning, climate-control, electrical and fire-safety systems; updated plumbing and parking facilities; modernized classrooms that will help accommodate higher-quality science, technology, engineering, math and language programs; new furniture, equipment, classroom technology, landscaping and more.

The highest priority upgrades, Hernandez-Goff said, will be the new roofs, heating and air conditioning and fire and safety systems.

"This will allow us to fast-track all our roof repairs, as well as to make sure that our kids are warm in the winter and cool enough to focus and learn in the summer," she said.

Despite the significant upgrades, this is only a fraction of the $100 million in "critical" districtwide repairs identified through a comprehensive facilities master plan process, Hernandez-Goff told the Weekly. The master plan itself will cost more than $300 million over several years.

The district sees Measure H as a first step toward the longer-term improvements envisioned in the master plan.

"We're very thankful (and) very excited to move forward," Pulido said.

The bond's projected annual tax rate is $30 per $100,000 of taxable value. A property assessed at $700,000, for example, would likely have an annual tax obligation of $210 under this measure.

Measure H is a general obligation bond, meaning it will be repaid over approximately 30 years through a tax on all taxable property — residential, commercial and industrial — located within the school district's boundaries.

The district estimates that the total amount repayable during the life of the bond, including principal and interest, is approximately $44 million.

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Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Sue Allen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 8, 2016 at 12:46 pm

The East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park communities really support their schools. I've been working in Ravenswood for many, many years. The schools used to be a disaster, but are getting better all the time. With much less funding than surrounding districts, and a school population with some difficult educational issues, Ravenswood still manages to give kids the best school experience possible. And Measure H will really help!


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