Six years after asking district voters to approve $26 million in bonds, the Old Adobe Union School District in east Petaluma is going back to the polls, this time seeking to pass a measure for $38.5 million in bonds for school upgrades.
Measure L would be used to modernize classrooms, repair leaky roofs, replace outdated heating and cooling systems, and improve student access to technology, according to Craig Conte, Old Adobe superintendent.
“Looking back on our past history, we’ve put money to work with benefits for our students,” Conte said. “This would finish off our projects.”
In 2012, the last time the district turned to voters, officials identified $60 million in improvement needs. The district decided to break up the bonds into two phases, a strategy that is meant to benefit taxpayers, according to Anthony Bendik, a school board member.
“We modernized campuses, added security upgrades,” he said. “Since then, our enrollment has been increasing.”
The district serves 1,900 students on five elementary campuses — Old Adobe, Loma Vista, Miwok, La Tercera and Sonoma Mountain. Four of the schools were built in the 1970s or earlier. Sonoma Mountain was built using a 1995 bond measure.
The last time the district passed a bond measure, officials told voters that there would be more funding needed to complete the projects, Conte said. If this measure fails, he said much needed maintenance would have to be postponed, making it more expensive in the future.
The bond will add $30 per $100,000 of assessed value to each property owner’s annual tax bill. An independent oversight committee will be established to ensure the money is properly spent, Conte said.
Measure L has universal support from the school board, and there is no public opposition to the measure. The Sonoma County Taxpayers Association, which usually weighs in on tax measures, is not taking a stance on Measure L, according to Dan Drummond, the executive director.
“We’re not taking a position on school bonds this year,” he said. “It’s a matter of voters in the districts and how deep they want to dig into their pockets.”
(Contact Matt Brown at email@example.com.)