Washington Unified School District Bond Determination Process
In September 2013, the Board of Education (BOE) commissioned facility improvement concept titled the Capital Investment Program (CIP). The CIP concept was to help to help the BOE in the evaluation of “…what we have today, what are needs are in the future, and will help define a capital asset base…” The product of the CIP, CIP Plan Document, identifies the capital investment needs and funding opportunities that exist. Funding opportunities discussed with the BOE included the issuance of general obligation bonds.
As the CIP Plan Document was being developed, it was apparent that the facility needs of the District were significant and the evaluation of general obligations bonds was no longer focused on if general obligation bonds would be needed, but when to issue general obligation bonds. As a result, public opinion survey firm options were reviewed and a firm was selected and approved by the BOE in November 2013. A survey was developed with input from a board sub-committee and the survey was administered in February 2014.
In March of 2014, the BOE adopted the CIP Plan Document and was also presented with the results of the Public Opinion Survey which showed support for a bond in November 2014. Although the survey results were positive, it was clear that a bond campaign would be needed to ensure the public was aware of the need for facility funding that exceeded both the District and the State’s capacity.
In April of 2014, the BOE was presented with and approved a proposed bond plan (WUSD Financial Planning Bond November 2014 Ballot). The plan, presented by the District’s financial advisor, Government Financial Strategies, was based upon the needs identified in the CIP Plan Document and public opinion survey. In addition, the presentation reviewed the District’s tax base and updated the BOE on the next step in the bond discussion process: the Community Input Team (CIT).
The CIT, a collection of residents, parents, students, and members of staff, met on Monday evenings for four consecutive weeks beginning on April 28th, 2014. The CIT developed a Consensus Report that was presented to the BOE on June 12, 2014. The consensus report concluded that there was a need for facility improvements that would benefit from the issuance of a general obligation bond. The report also noted a list of priorities regarding how bond proceeds should be spent, that they needed to be spent in an equitable and visionary manner, and had value.
The series of activities noted leads us to the determination of whether or not a bond initiative should be placed on the November 2014 ballot. At the July 24th BOE meeting, the BOE adopted Board Resolution #1314-24, which authorized a general obligation bond ballot initiative in the amount of $49,800,000 for the November 2014 ballot. The cost to homeowners would be no more than $39 per $100,000 of assessed value of their home.
The bond initiative, if approved by the voters, would provide funding focused on three target areas: Safe and Secure Schools, Quality Learning Environments, and College and Career Pathways.
Safe and Secure Schools
evaluations of West Sacramento schools show the need for upgrades and
modifications to fencing, gates, doors and emergency exits. A bond will
make sure all of our schools have the hardware required for maximum
protection and evacuation for children in the event of an emergency.
Quality Learning Environments
West Sacramento schools are decades old and need significant repairs.
Children cannot do their best if classrooms are making them too hot, too
cold or even making them sick. A bond will
help fund dramatic improvements to school facilities, including repair
and replacement of heating and cooling systems, fixing of broken windows
and leaky roofs, and removal of mold and dry rot. In addition, a bond will help make sure school buildings are up to current codes and ensure access for disabled students.
Students Ready for College or a Career
Our goal is for every student to be ready for college or a career by graduation. A bond will allow for investment in the most up to date technology for students and classrooms, upgraded electrical systems to support high-speed WiFi, updated computer and science labs, and improved facilities for career technical education and vocational programs.