How is Poway Unified School District (PUSD) doing?
Poway Unified School District is an innovative, award-winning public school district providing a high-quality learning experience to all students, and has worked hard to become one of the top school districts in San Diego County and California.
PUSD serves over 36,000 preschool to adult students from the communities of Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Sabre Springs, Carmel Mountain Ranch, 4S Ranch, Del Sur, Santa Luz, Torrey Highlands, as well as some other areas of San Diego City and County. Our students, schools, and staff are regularly recognized for their achievements at the local, state, and national levels, including in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math, and visual and performing arts.
What challenges are facing our schools?
Many PUSD schools are outdated and need to be repaired and upgraded to meet current safety and academic standards. While some of our schools have received repairs and upgrades, others have not. A recent facilities condition study by Ameresco found that if improvements are not made, nearly 60% (23 out of 39) of all PUSD schools will be in “poor” condition by the year 2023.
Out-of-date classrooms and infrastructure need to be replaced to ensure student safety and support for world-class learners. Specifically, in order for our students to succeed in high school, college, and future careers, they should be skilled in the use of today’s technologies and have a solid background in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Modern classrooms and labs are needed to support instruction in these areas.
Additionally, fixing leaky roofs and updating failing plumbing, sewer lines and electrical systems would allow local teachers and students to focus on academics and innovation in the classroom.
PUSD has worked hard to increase test scores, graduation rates, and overall student success. However, outdated and deteriorating classrooms and buildings are making it harder to continue this progress.
How is the District planning to address these issues?
PUSD has very few options when it comes to making the necessary renovations and upgrades to our local schools. We cannot rely on the State for funding to complete these critical projects.
The Poway Unified School District Board of Education unanimously voted to place a local bond measure on the March 2020 ballot that would generate up to $448 million to repair and improve our local schools, which would cost the typical homeowner less than $200 per year. The tax rate is estimated to be $34 per each $100,000 of a property’s assessed value (not market value).
Specifically, how would funds from the local school improvement bond measure be used?
If approved by 55% of local voters, the school improvement bond measure would include, but is not limited to, the following repairs and improvements to our school sites:
Would the bond measure pay for administrator or teacher salaries or pensions?
- Removing hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint where needed
- Repairing or replacing leaky roofs, rusty plumbing, failing sewer lines and outdated electrical systems
- Improving student safety and campus security systems including security fencing, security cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinklers
- Providing classrooms, facilities and technology needed to support high-quality instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math
- Providing modern labs and career training facilities so students are prepared for college and in-demand careers in fields like health sciences, engineering, technology, robotics, and skilled trades
- Upgrading older schools so they meet the same academic and safety standards as newer schools
No, by law none of the money from this bond measure could be used for salaries, benefits or pensions for administrators or teachers.
Can the bond measure pay for additional programs or teacher or staff positions?
No, but it could free up money in our general fund that would otherwise be going to facilities needs. That extra general fund money could then go toward funding priority programs and positions.
How do I know funds from the bond measure would be used as the voters authorized?
The bond measure requires strict fiscal accountability provisions including:
How does this school improvement bond measure contribute to a well-rounded education for Poway students?
- Citizens’ oversight, independent audits and a detailed project list to ensure the money is spent as promised
- All funds raised by the bond measure would stay local to support PUSD students and could not be taken by the State
- No money could be used for administrator or teacher salaries or benefits
In PUSD, we know that a modern education is the key to our students’ success in today’s changing world. This bond measure would provide funding for updated classrooms, technology, facilities, labs and equipment for career and technology education classes as well as active learning spaces for instruction and collaboration. These modernized facilities would enable the District to prepare our students for college and in-demand jobs in fields like health sciences, engineering, technology and skilled trades.
As our global economy becomes more competitive, our academic standards need to rise as well. This bond measure would help local students have access to the education, technology and skills training they need to be college, career, and life ready.
Has our community supported a bond measure before?
Yes. In 2002, voters in PUSD passed Proposition U, a $198 million school district bond to repair, renovate, and expand schools in the Poway Unified School District. Proposition U projects were completed at the following schools: Chaparral Elementary, Midland Elementary, Westwood Elementary, Tierra Bonita Elementary, Garden Road Elementary, Mt. Carmel High School, Painted Rock Elementary, Poway High, Twin Peaks Middle, Los Penasquitos Elementary School, Sundance Elementary, Sunset Hills Elementary, Turtleback Elementary, Rolling Hills Elementary, Deer Canyon Elementary, Canyon View Elementary, and Morning Creek Elementary School.
In 2008, voters in PUSD passed Proposition C, a $179 million school district bond to repair, renovate, and expand schools in the Poway Unified School District. These funds were used to renovate aging classrooms and buildings at PUSD. Proposition C projects were completed at the following: Abraxas High, Chaparral Elementary School, Valley Elementary, Rolling Hills Elementary, Black Mountain Middle, Meadowbrook Middle, Pomerado Elementary, Sundance Elementary, Sunset Hills Elementary, Turtleback Elementary, Deer Canyon Elementary, Canyon View Elementary, Morning Creek Elementary, Bernardo Heights Middle, and Rancho Bernardo High School.
Collectively, bond monies were supplemented with an additional $95 million in state matching money for facilities improvements (funds that would have otherwise gone to other school districts and communities).
Leveraging these resources, Proposition U and C improvements included:
Please follow this link to see projects for a specific school site.
- Additional classrooms
- Upgraded electrical systems for safety and access to technology
- Replacement of inefficient heating, ventilation, and plumbing systems
- Renovated and expanded libraries
- Upgraded District school facilities to meet current safety codes
- Additional science and technology classrooms
An independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee oversaw all Proposition U and C expenditures. It is important to note that all Proposition U and C funds have been spent.
What about the 2011 CABs (capital appreciation bonds) used to finance the bond program?
We agree that this was not a wise financing strategy made by former District leadership. We have new administration and new leadership here at Poway USD and there are strict policies in place now to make sure it never happens again. The District has been exploring every avenue to reduce the burden on taxpayers from the CABs and previous bond measures. Over the past several years we have saved taxpayers approximately $18 million on refinancing prior bonds. We work hard every day to maintain our fiscal integrity as a District and to earn back the trust of our constituents. There will be no CABs in a future District bond.
How much would this new bond measure cost me?
If approved by local voters, the cost of the bond measure will not exceed $34 per each $100,000 of a property’s assessed value (not market value) and is estimated to cost the typical PUSD homeowner less than $200 per year, while bonds are outstanding.
What about communities already paying Mello Roos?
Mello Roos Special Tax funds may only be used for the construction of new
facilities projects in community facilities districts (CFDs). Schools already designed, funded, and constructed under this program include Del Norte High School, Del Sur Elementary, Design39Campus, Willow Grove Elementary, Stone Ranch Elementary, Monterey Ridge Elementary, Oak Valley Middle, Adobe Bluffs Elementary, Highland Ranch Elementary, Creekside Elementary, Shoal Creek Elementary, Park Village Elementary, Mesa Verde Middle, and Westview High School. Although the Mello Roos Law was amended to include maintenance of real or other tangible property with a useful life of five or more years, our CFDs were formed prior to this change. Therefore, Mello Roos Special Tax funds may not be used for the ongoing repair, improvement, or maintenance of these facilities. That’s why the proposed new bond measure is also needed for CFD areas.
Is there any other way to update and improve our schools?
PUSD does not receive adequate funding from the State for facility improvements and long-term repairs. A local bond measure provides the local control necessary to complete prioritized projects to provide a safe and modern learning environment for our students. In addition, our schools would qualify for approximately $89 million in State matching funds if the bond measure were to pass — funds that would otherwise go to other communities. It is important to note that in order to capture these State matching funds the District must have a matching contribution. The State School Facility Program only provides funding when a district can show they have available funding to support their portion of the project cost.
I don’t have any kids in schools. How does local education funding affect me?
Great schools support strong, safe communities. Whether or not you have school-age children, protecting high-quality schools means protecting our quality of life, our property values, and keeping our community a desirable destination for families to raise their children.
Will I be able to vote on the measure?
All registered voters living in the Poway Unified School District are eligible to vote on the bond measure.
What level of support does this measure need to pass?
This bond measure needs to be supported by 55% of those who vote on the measure in order for it to pass.
How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?
You can register to vote at www.registertovote.ca.gov
. To find out more about voting in this election, please contact the San Diego County Registrar of Voters at (858) 565-5800.
How can I find out more?
For questions or comments, please contact Ron Little, Associate Superintendent of Business Support Services, at email@example.com
or (858) 521-2778.