The Sequoia Union High School District has been seeking public input on a proposed bond measure for the November ballot that, according to early estimates, could authorize the district to seek a bond of up to $801 million.
A trio of resolutions are up for consideration and are headed to the board on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Option A includes a reduced amount of $591.5 million with a tax rate of $14; Option B includes a bond of $650.5 million with a tax rate of $16, and; Option C includes a bond of $801 million with a tax rate of $19. Each tax rate is expressed per $100,000 of a property’s assessed value.
According to a district spokesperson, the most recent renovations at campuses across the district took place after the Measure A bond passed in 2014, which cost the district $265 million and passed with a 65.7% vote. Many large projects were completed, but not all classrooms were fully renovated, said Richard Gebin, Sequoia Union High School District spokesperson.
Many schools have not been updated for 50 years, according to district officials. While the individual costs of projects are not yet available, district officials plan to not only make big-ticket upgrades to classrooms and facilities but use funds to upgrade plumbing equipment and electrical ventilation, among other things, Gebin said.
Another big ticket item on the district’s list is updating athletic facilities, Gebin said. Earlier this month, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported that a busted water pipe in a basketball court at Sequoia High had caused irreparable damage to the gym floor. The school has already started demolishing its floor, the publication reported. The Almanac's sister publication, the Redwood City Pulse, has reached out to the district for comment.
Since 1996, district voters have approved five bond measures, including a $165 million Measure J bond in 2008, a $70 million Measure H bond in 2004, a $88 Measure G million bond in 2001 and a $45 million Measure V bond in 1996. The most recent bond measure was in 2014 at $265 million.
The district currently has approximately $460 million in outstanding general obligation bonds, according to the district.
In the past, a two-thirds vote was required to authorize a bond in a school district, however that changed to a 55% majority vote. The board can only vote for one of the resolutions on Wednesday’s agenda. Should the board approve the resolution, it will be added to the November 8 ballot.
Over the past several months, the district has been studying the feasibility of a bond measure, including gathering public input through surveys, emails, telephone calls and text messages.
The Sequoia Union High School District plans to meet on Wednesday, Aug. 3. A closed session starts at 5 p.m., and the public session begins at 6 p.m. Agenda items can be found here.