Upgrading the technology capabilities at Temecula’s campuses district-wide would be a top priority if Temecula voters pass Measure Y, a $165 million bond measure for the Temecula Valley Unified School District on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The measure needs 55 percent of the vote to pass.
The bond would cost $10 per $100,000 of assessed value for residential and commercial property owners. The district says the average homeowner would pay about $28 a year.
All funds must stay in the TVUSD to benefit local students. No money can be spent on salaries or go to the state, and an independent Citizens Oversight Committee would be established to monitor expenditures.
District officials say the bond is needed now because neither the state nor the federal government is funding schools adequately to cover renovations, updated technology or new schools.
“Over time since budgets have been cut, the district has had no new capital outlay funding and is likely not to have that funding for a very long time in the future,” said Lori Ordway-Peck, TVUSD’s assistant superintendent of Support Services.
She said the district has fallen behind on keeping up with technology and all the changes that are needed so that students can bring wireless devices to school to aid in learning, for example.
Bringing wireless connectivity to every campus would be among the higher priorities for bond funds, she added.
When asked why the TVUSD is putting the bond before voters this fall, Ordway-Peck answered, “It’s time for us to recognize that we are turning to an environment in which we are going to have to decide what’s important locally because the state and the federal government are not interested in funding locally. If we want good schools and we want them to be reflective of our community values, then we have to understand they have to be a part of what we pay for locally.”
According to a fact sheet on the TVUSD website, Measure Y funds would be spent to upgrade or add classrooms, science labs, computer systems and technology infrastructure; renovate and modernize facilities and equipment to provide new and expanded career technical programs and advanced courses in math, science, and technology; improve energy efficiency; fund arts programs; repair and replace roofs, floors, walkways, lighting, electrical and plumbing systems; and other upgrades to help reduce overcrowding.
The Measure Y fact sheet states, “Temecula schools continue to age and require repairs that will only to get worse if no additional funding comes in. The district cannot wait for state officials to provide those funds. Delaying facility improvements will only increase future costs.”
Exactly how much money the bond would yield depends on how successfully district officials can sell bonds over a period of time.
If Measure Y passes, the district would prioritize projects for the school board, then the board would decide which projects were moved forward. Ordway-Peck said the district would ask the board to address technology and safety issues at campuses as high priorities. Next could be modernization projects or upgrades where TVUSD could win matching government funds, she said.
TVUSD’s last bond measure was a 30-year bond measure passed in 1989. All the funds were spent, mostly to build new schools as the community grew.
For a project list for bond funds, visit http://www.tvusd.k12.ca.us.
For information about the citizen’s campaign on behalf of Measure Y, email the Friends of Temecula Valley Schools at email@example.com.
Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.