Measure P Information

Palomar Council PTA Report
Bond Study Committee
Date 1/7/2020

Summary

Over the past couple of years, Poway Unified School District has conducted two major independent studies in order to support their Facilities Master Planning process. Ameresco conducted a facilities study, where all major building components for all campuses were assessed. Each campus was given a rating based on age, current condition, and the need for repairs. It was determined that more than half of the district’s campuses will be in what is considered “poor condition” in just three years. The other study was conducted by Guidepost, and it focused on what safety and security improvements are necessary to continue keeping students and staff safe.

The total facilities improvements identified would cost approximately $1.25 billion over the next 30 years. The current $448 million bond measure is roughly a third of that need and was considered “acceptable” when the district measured local voters’ tax sensitivities. The $448 million will be spent over the next several years, however the payments are expected to continue over 28 years.

In the 2019 budget, the district’s total expenditures were approximately $424 million. Of that, 84% were salaries and benefits, which is actually low compared to other districts in our state. The rest of the expenses are for services, books, supplies etc. These facts make it impossible for any school district in California to set aside enough money for construction of new school buildings and maintenance in its regular budget. School districts finance construction and maintenance by issuing bonds that are paid for by local taxes. The state of California is also issuing bonds and in our district’s case, it would get an additional $89 million in matching state funds if this bond measure is approved.

What will happen if the Measure P is not approved by voters? There will not be enough money to repair fences, maintain plumbing, repair leaky roofs or for buying new AC units when they fail. There will not be any funding for the security improvements recommended by Guidepost, such as security cameras, improvements to schools’ front offices to make them safer, vehicle barriers, new door hardware etc. Eventually, the lack of maintenance will negatively affect the quality of the school environment as well as the safety of the students and staff.

Measure P will increase yearly property taxes by approximately $34 per $100,000 in assessed property value. The bond will be paid off during the next 28 years. All homeowners within PUSD’s boundaries will get this increase on their property taxes and all school campuses in the district will benefit from the upgrades, even though the older schools generally have higher need of repairs and improvements.

Measure P will be decided by voters on March 3rd. A 55% majority is needed to pass the measure.

Facts, Pros and Cons to Measure P

Facts:

  • A recent facilities condition study by Ameresco found that if improvements are not made, 62% (24 out of 39) of all PUSD schools will be in “poor” condition by the year 2023. (4)

  • A recent safety and security study by Guidepost listed several upgrades that are necessary to keep students and staff safer in an emergency, such as a school shooting.

  •  The funds will be used to upgrade classrooms, labs, instructional technology and educational facilities. No funds from the bond can be used for teacher or administrator salaries or other school operating expenses. (6c)

  • There will be protections, including mandatory annual audits and an independent citizens’ bond oversight committee comprised of local residents to ensure funds are managed and spent properly. (6c)

  • The bond measure is for $448 million and it will be paid over 28 years. (1)

  • All homeowners within PUSD’s boundaries would get $34 increase in property tax for every $100,000 assessed home value. (1)

  • Mello-Roos money cannot be used for facilities maintenance. (2)

  • PUSD has had two bond measures passed previously; proposition U 2002 for $198 million and proposition U in 2008 for $179 million. The 2008 bond was a capital appreciation bond and the measure has been highly criticized for not being financially sound. The new bond will not be a capital appreciation bond. (2 and 6c)

  • An average house within PUSD boundaries is worth around $80,000 more than a similar house in Escondido.

  • A house in 4S Ranch with Mello-Roos: 37% of property tax/Mello-Roos goes to PUSD, or $690 per $100,000 home value. A house without Mello-Roos in Poway: 5.7% of property tax goes to PUSD, or $64 per $100,000 home value. Mello-Roos vary depending on location, but it is significantly higher than the suggested property tax increase.

Pros:

  • The money raised from this bond would make it possible for PUSD to maintain and upgrade facilities to make sure that opportunities for learning are ideal. This includes making it easier to attract good teachers.

  • For community members without school-aged children, protecting high-quality schools means protecting quality of life, property values, and keeping the community a desirable destination for families to raise their children. (2)

  • PUSD schools would qualify for approximately $89 million in state matching funds if the bond measure were to pass, money that the district would otherwise not get. (2)

Cons:

  • The cost to homeowners in the form of higher property taxes.

Conclusion  

The committee’s recommendation is for Palomar Council PTA to endorse Measure P on the March ballot. After studying the materials available about the bond measure, we conclude that the bond will make improvements possible that are in the best interest of students. We also conclude that it is likely that the district will use the funds as intended and that it will accomplish the intended results.

Action Items

I move that Palomar Council PTA endorse Measure P on the March ballot. (This was voted on and approved on January 7, 2020).

Important Dates  

The election where Measure P is on the ballot is on March 3rd, 2020. Please vote!

Please see the full Report for additional graphics and list of references.

 

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