By Allison Jarrell
The Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees continued its discussion Wednesday night of placing an $889 million general obligation bond on the Nov. 8, 2016 general election ballot, which would be used to leverage state funds and pay for more than $800 million of deferred maintenance of district facilities.
The trustees engaged in a lengthy discussion, questioning whether a districtwide bond or multiple School Facilities Improvement Districts (SFIDs) covering different regions would be best to pursue.
According to a phone survey conducted from April 28 to May 10, of the 1,171 Capo Unified voters surveyed, 62 percent of respondents would definitely or probably vote “yes” in favor of an $889 million bond measure.
On Wednesday, a majority of trustees leaned toward pursuing SFIDs for the district’s regions rather than a districtwide bond approach, saying that families in South Orange County likely don’t know about or care about facilities needs in northern cities and vice versa. According to a breakdown of the district’s Facilities Master Plan, San Juan Capistrano schools currently have about $99 million in facilities needs.
Mentioned throughout the evening was the fact that Irvine Unified School District just passed a $319 million bond measure this week with about 60 percent of the vote.
Trustee Jim Reardon voiced concern over the magnitude of the potential bond and the need for specifics on how the money would be tied to facilities’ maintenance.
“If this bond had been on that ballot yesterday, it would have been the largest one in the state,” Reardon said. “It’s a major, major undertaking, and very difficult for us to … sell without some substantial and detailed justification.”
The deadline for placing a bond measure on the November ballot is Aug. 12, so the last opportunity for the board to vote on the measure would be its regularly scheduled meeting on July 20. Two-thirds of the board—five trustees—must approve the measure for it to be placed on the ballot.
The board will continue the discussion at its regularly scheduled meeting on June 22.