4 districts eye ’06 bonds

first_img The high school and Lancaster district each have passed bond measures within the past six years. A $29 million bond measure approved by Lancaster district voters in 1999 was exhausted by the building of Amargosa Creek Middle School and Jack Northrop and West Wind elementary schools and several modernization projects. Money from the $103.6 million bond issue passed by high school district voters in March 2002 will be gone after the building of Eastside High School, the district’s eighth comprehensive high school. Westside officials are looking at the possibility of pursuing a bond measure to help pay for building at least six schools within the next decade. Westside voters in June 1989 narrowly approved an $8.5 million bond measure, passed with 23 votes more than the minimum two-thirds then necessary. In 1998, district voters approved extending the school construction tax to 2026 to raise $14.7 million. “I think that the biggest problem is that you have to have all your financing for schools before the state will give you any money. You have to have a match which is close to 60 percent right now,” Westside Superintendent Regina Rossall said. “There are very few ways to get that without going for a bond.” “Our hope is to be out there dealing with our community. Our parents know that overcrowded schools are not necessarily the best way to provide an education,” Rossall added. “Schools are for everyone’s future. Schools are important to property values.” Beattie said the high school district has reviewed other financing options like special tax districts or a parcel tax, but bonds appear to be the most feasible. “This seems to be the most practical way to do it. If you are building an elementary school and are going to have a neighborhood, it may be that the neighborhood could construct that school with a Mello-Roos (community facilities district) or parcel tax,” Beattie said. “When you are talking about a high school, which serves a much larger area, you need to look at a larger revenue source,” Beattie said. In addition, in the case of a parcel tax, the district would have to hire someone to administer the collection of taxes on all new tracts, Beattie said. “The most practical one with the least impact on extra costs for the district would be the general obligation bond,” Beattie said. High school board President Donita Winn agreed that a bond measure seems the best way to go. “The pros didn’t outweigh the cons on any of (the other options),” Winn said. “None of them seemed to fit this valley, situation or our community. It pretty much boiled down to a bond.” Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Lancaster, Muroc Joint Unified, and Westside Union school districts are thinking of placing bond measures on the June 6 ballot. Antelope Valley Union High School District wants to put a bond measure on the Nov. 7 ballot. Lancaster and Westside property owners would have to pay for the Antelope Valley Union High School District bond measure as well, if all three pass, because the elementary school districts are within the high school district boundary. Muroc is in Kern County and not affected by other school districts. High school board member Al Beattie said approaching voters later in the year might not necessarily be a disadvantage. “I don’t know that it would hurt our position. Obviously we are going to have to tell the story of our needs,” Beattie said. “There will be less confusion if it’s not mixed up with all the other ballot measures. The November election would bring out more people during a general election.” “I think we need to tell our story, tell of our stewardship of the bond money we received thus far, and how we have managed that fund. When people see that and don’t want 5,500 students on campuses, then they will support it,” Beattie said. LANCASTER – Officials at several school districts that are considering placing school construction bond measures before voters in 2006 are hopeful about the measures passing. The optimism remained despite property owners getting a tax boost from a 2004 Antelope Valley College bond measure for $139 million, and voters in November rejecting a valleywide flood control district that could have added a new property tax. “We are all experiencing the same need for growth,” said Greg Tepe, a member of the Lancaster School District board, one of four districts contemplating bond measures. “In order to house all the students who are moving up here in nice schools, sometimes bonds are necessary to keep our schools modern and safe. “And they are an investment in our community, so hopefully people will support that and recognize that.” last_img read more