Politics & Government

Cuesta, SLO and Atascadero school bond measures approved

A bird's-eye view of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
A bird's-eye view of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Voters strongly supported local schools by passing three bond measures seeking a combined $510 million — leaning on property owners to pay for needed upgrades at campuses across San Luis Obispo County. The three measures, for Cuesta College and the San Luis Coastal and Atascadero school districts, all passed with better than 60 percent approval, well above the required 55 percent.

Measure L

Voters countywide provided a huge boost for Cuesta College on Tuesday night, passing the school’s $275 million bond measure with 62 percent of the vote.

The victory signals a changing tide for Cuesta, which has struggled in recent years to maintain aging infrastructure.

“The voters’ support of the bond is really a statement of confidence,” said Cuesta President Gil Stork. “Now it is really about moving forward and making sure that every citizen of San Luis Obispo County sees the benefit of their tax dollars.”

The college will now make critical fixes to leaking roofs, replace failing air-conditioning and heating units, and repair the swimming pool. It will also replace several modular classrooms with permanent buildings. Measure L will cost property owners in the community college district $19.45 per $100,000 of assessed value annually.

Property owners will pay the tax for 34 years — through 2049.

It is the first bond passed by the community college since 1974.

Measure D

San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay High Schools in San Luis Coastal Unified School District will get significant upgrades with the passage of a $177 million bond measure by 71 percent of voters Tuesday.

The bond measure will fund repairs and construction of facilities at the two high schools — $60 million to each. It will also pay for minor repairs at the district’s elementary and middle schools.

The passage of Measure D will cost property owners $49 per $100,000 of assessed valuation per year for up to 30 years.

Key renovations will include modernizing high school classrooms and making technological upgrades such as Wi-Fi accessibility.

Other highlights include a pool at Morro Bay High school and an all-weather track at San Luis Obispo High, among additional improvements at both schools.

“I think the vote shows a strong commitment to education and understanding of the role our high schools play in the community and local economy,” said Brian Clausen, co-chair of the Central Coast Citizens for Measure D. “This shows that preparing students for the 21st century is a real need and that there is confidence in the leadership of our school district.”

Measure B

The Atascadero Unified School District will now be able to move forward and complete major upgrades at 10 schools with the passage of Measure B.

With 61 percent approval, voters reauthorized $58 million in general obligation bonds to complete the renovations.

Those improvements will be made at Atascadero High School, Del Rio Continuation High School and four elementary schools that have not yet been renovated.

Four years ago, voters approved a $117 million bond. Because slumping property values have yet to significantly improve, the district asked taxpayers to pay more money now, but over a shorter time frame than previously scheduled.

The district will now increase the annual tax rate by about $47.33 per $100,000 of assessed value. In total, property owners now could pay as much as $120 per $100,000 of assessed value annually.