For Immediate Release: March 7, 2018
Repairs and Upgrades to Prepare Students for 21st-Century Success
MPUSD Board of Education Unanimously Votes to Place Bond Measure on June 5, 2018 Ballot
Monterey, CA – Citing urgent needs to repair 50-year-old schools and support 21st-century instructional methods, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Board of Education unanimously voted to place a $213 million school improvement bond measure on the June 5, 2018 ballot during its regular meeting last week.
The bond measure is the result of an in-depth Facilities Needs Assessment to determine priority improvements at all schools in the district. Included in the detailed project list are plans to provide up-to-date science, technology, engineering, arts and math classrooms, fix leaky roofs, replace outdated portables, repair aging plumbing, gas, sewer and electrical systems, update classrooms for career technical education and workforce training programs and make essential safety and security updates.
“Our newest school was built in 1965 and all of our schools are over 50 years old,” said MPUSD Board Trustee and Bond Sub-Committee Chair Wendy Root Askew. “It is clear that our aging classrooms, labs and school facilities are in need of repair to meet modern educational standards.”
Mandatory fiscal accountability provisions are written into the measure to ensure the proper use of funds. A citizen’s oversight committee, annual audits and detailed project list are all required, and legally, no funds could be used for administrators’ salaries. All funds must be used locally to improve schools here on the Monterey Peninsula, meaning nothing could be taken by the state or federal government.
“Our district is committed to transparency and community involvement in addressing these important needs in our local schools,” stated Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh. “This measure reflects that commitment while striving to provide a safe and modern learning environment for every one of our students.”
If approved, the bond measure would generate $213 million in locally controlled funding to repair and upgrade local schools. The cost of the measure would not exceed $60 per $100,000 of assessed value (not market value) annually, for as long as bonds are outstanding. Assessed value is based on the original purchase price of a home and is often lower than current market value. For the average homeowner within the district boundaries, this would cost about $180 per year.
“I am hopeful and very supportive of this plan,” said Tom Grych, President, Monterey Bay Teachers Association. “This year I’ve had the opportunity to visit all the MPUSD campuses. While all of these sites are staffed with incredibly dedicated professionals, the facilities are woefully inadequate. From classrooms with severely insufficient electrical outlets and capacity, to water and sewage lines that are over-taxed, these sites do not lend themselves to modern learning. As we strive to guide our students toward college, career and life beyond the classroom, we owe them modernized facilities in which to continue their journeys.”
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