Capistrano (Calif.) district seeks approval of $889 million bond proposal

Capistrano (Calif.) district seeks approval of $889 million bond proposal

The money would enable the district to address aging facilities and mounting deferred maintenance.

The Capistrano (Calif.) Unified School District has placed an $889 million bond proposal on the November ballot.

The Orange County Register reports that in calling for the bond election, the school board created a school facilities improvement district that excludes the Rancho Mission Viejo area from taking part in the election. By excluding that area, the board has focused the bond issue on needs at existing schools, rather than factoring in future need. Rancho Mission Viejo’s lone school, Esencia Elementary, is scheduled to open in 2018.

If the bond request passes, the district also may be eligible to receive an additional $229 million in matching funds from the state’s proposed $9 billion bond Initiative.

The bond proceeds would pay for facility repairs and upgrades at more than 50 campuses in the district.

“We believe that the success of our students is reliant upon our ability to provide a safe and healthy learning environment that also reflects twenty-first century learning,” Board President Amy Hanacek says in a news release. “While our staff and teachers ensure that each of our schools are kept clean and secure, 70 percent of our classrooms were built over 20 years ago and are in need of modernization and upgrades.”

Capistrano Unified is faced with aging school facilities and a lack of funds to carry out improvements, officials say. A 2009 district facilities master plan identified more than $800 million in needed upgrades. That study has been updated twice, and officials say the needs have grown as the district deferred maintenance in the wake of the 2008 recession.

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