Two years after putting its plans on hold, Lucia Mar Unified School District is once again considering a bond measure to help modernize some of its schools.
The bond measure, which could appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, could raise between $104 million to $170 million for the South County school district, depending upon the property tax rate the district decides to pursue. Under the options being considered, property owners would pay between $29 and $45 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.
The district has until July to determine whether it will pursue the bond measure, though the Board of Trustees is expected to make a decision at one of its meetings in June.
The funds would go toward modernizing the district’s outdated facilities, district Superintendent Raynee Daley said, noting that many of the district’s schools were built in the 1950s and ’60s and haven’t been updated since.
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“While we’ve worked hard over the years to keep our academic program updated and modern, I don’t think that that has necessarily happened with some of our facilities,” she said.
Though the district is in the process of determining exactly what would be updated from the bond measure — Daley said each school would have at least one major project — some would be upgrades to enhance the district’s ability to equip students with “the skills of the future.” Funds also may be used to replace some modular classrooms with permanent buildings.
“The question is, ‘What do we need to be future ready, and to be giving our students the skills to succeed in a world that is being defined as we speak?’ ” Daley said.
While we’ve worked hard over the years to keep our academic program updated and modern, I don’t think that that has necessarily happened with some of our facilities.
Raynee Daley, Lucia Mar Unified School District superintendent
Some of those upgrades could include more materials and technology for science labs and new desks and chairs that can be moved around for more dynamic discussions. The money could also pay for replacing windows that aren’t energy-efficient, repaving asphalt in some playgrounds, updating plumbing and other housekeeping necessities.
The district last considered pursuing a facilities bond in 2014, but set those plans aside because there wasn’t enough time to “do a successful campaign,” according to a Tribune report in May 2014. Three other school bond measures were on the ballot countywide that November — one for fixing aging infrastructure at Cuesta College, another for modernization at Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo high schools, and the last for renovations to 10 schools in the Atascadero Unified School District. Voters in those districts approved all three.
Since then, Lucia Mar has been working to determine the feasibility of putting a bond measure on the 2016 ballot, Daley said.
In a study conducted by True North Research, a survey firm out of Encinitas, researchers found 63 percent of voters polled were likely to vote in favor of a Lucia Mar bond measure this November. The study polled a random sample of 411 registered voters in the district who were likely to vote in the November election. A school bond measure needs 55 percent voter approval to pass.
South County voters have approved two bond measures for the Lucia Mar District in the past 20 years: a $24 million bond in 1997 mostly to build Nipomo High School, and a $21.35 million bond in 2004 to renovate Arroyo Grande High School.