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Portola Valley school board to discuss details of bond measure

Study session starts at 3 p.m. at Corte Madera

This drawing shows the Ormondale campus if everything on the facilities master plan were to be built. (CAW Architects/Courtesy Portola Valley School District)

Note: An earlier version of this story said the meeting starts at 3:30, due to a mix-up in the meeting agenda. The meeting starts at 3 p.m.

Should the Portola Valley School District put a $37 million bond measure on the ballot in November? How about a $50 million measure? Or two bond measures at a time adding up to $74 million, or $100 million?

Those are the possible scenarios presented to the district's governing board in a report prepared for a study session on Tuesday, Feb. 6. The meeting starts at 3 p.m. in room 102 at Corte Madera School, 4575 Alpine Road.

A $50 million bond measure would cost property owners approximately $30 per $100,000 in assessed value (or an annual $300 per $1 million in assessed value), while dual bonds totaling $100 million would cost about twice that much: $600 per $1 million in assessed valuation per year.

Election consultants hired by the district had earlier recommended that the district put one $40 million bond measure on the ballot.

A facilities master plan study listed $30.2 million in projects for Ormondale School, the district's transitional kindergarten through third-grade school, plus $42.2 million in projects at Corte Madera School, the district's fourth- through eighth-grade middle school.

A major single cost is a new performing arts building and expansion of the existing gymnasium at Corte Madera, estimated to cost $12.6 million. Improving the multi-use gymnasium/auditorium at Ormondale is expected to cost $2.3 million.

The master plan lays out these needs:

Modernize aging infrastructure -- repairing and upgrading existing buildings and replacing failing classrooms -- $8.7 million Ormondale, $9.3 million Corte Madera.

Transform the classroom -- replacing the maker spaces and science lab, expanding classrooms and adding technology and furniture for project-based learning -- $16.5 million Ormondale, $12.8 million Corte Madera.

Upgrade outdoor spaces for outdoor learning and gathering spaces -- $1.8 million Ormondale, $5.3 million Corte Madera.

Site safety, security and transportation -- adding fire alarms, security locks, fencing, site lighting, and parking and drop-off improvements -- $1 million at Ormondale and $2.2 million at Corte Madera.

The report also shows that enrollment in the district is expected to fall by about 100 students over the coming years, from this year's 610 to 509 by 2022-23, or about 18 percent. (The projection was 25 students under the actual enrollment for this year, however.)

Earlier polling done for the district showed that support for a $40 million bond measure on the November 2018 ballot ranged from 50.9 percent to 55.2 percent of the respondents, depending on when in the survey the question was asked.

A $30 million second bond measure received a maximum of 49.4 percent approval from those polled.

To pass, bond measures must receive the support of at least 55 percent of the voters.

In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 39, which lowered the threshold needed to pass most school bond measures from 66.7 percent to 55 percent if certain conditions were met. But the law limits how much a single bond measure can raise property taxes; the limit is $30 per $100,000 in assessed valuation (or $300 per $1 million in valuation).

Some school districts have gotten around the limit by asking voters to approve two bond measures on the same ballot, and the Portola Valley district had asked that the two-measure scenario be tested in the poll.

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