Alhambra voters will decide whether to pass two local school bond measures that would fund construction projects in hopes of providing Alhambra Unified students with a safe learning environment and improved school infrastructure. The district has circulated printed flyers at AUSD schools to provide information about Measure HS, a $149-million high school bond, and Measure AE, a $110-million elementary school bond, both which are the on Nov. 8 ballot.
The bonds would be paid back through property taxes of residents, who live within Alhambra Unified boundaries, at $22 per assessed value of $100,000 each year over 25 to 30 years, said AUSD school board member Robert Gin. Residents within these boundaries, in cities such as Monterey Park, Rosemead and Alhambra, will be able to vote on these measures for funding at K-12 schools in the area.
Although a complete list of projects is available on Alhambra voters’ sample ballots, Gin mentioned a specific need to update computer technology, ensure safe drinking water on campus, install new AC units in classrooms and auditoriums, and remove asbestos and lead in classrooms.
Major projects include replacing portable classrooms, meant for temporary use, with permanent classrooms. School bond measures modernize old facilities and get rid of bungalows, Gin said. Bungalow-style classrooms, which are in current use at Alhambra Unified, may pose a long-term health risk for students because of ventilation issues, PBS reported.
But the listing of a project does not guarantee that work will be done on it. The projects will be “completed as needed,” and some projects “may be delayed or may not be completed,” according to the sample ballot language for Measures AE and HS.
If the bonds pass, then Alhambra Unified will determine the cost of each project and how each project should be prioritized, said Gin. “A master plan will be determined by each school site after the passing of the bond to meet their individual needs,” AUSD secretary Becky Morales wrote in an email.
Money from the past two AUSD school bond measures were divvied up through a needs assessment, or master plan, that was administered by “individual site committees that consisted of site administrators, teachers, students, parents and the community,” Morales wrote to the Source.
Measure MM, passed in 2008, funded $55 million worth of projects at AUSD elementary schools. An audit report confirmed construction work on a ramp and restrooms at Brightwood Elementary and Garfield Elementary, respectively, which were in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Projects to improve playgrounds at Ramona, Granada, Ynez, Fremont, Repetto, Emery Park and Monterey Highlands were listed in a 2011 master plan update.
In 2004, Measure C was passed to fund $75 million for the construction of new buildings at four AUSD high schools. Mark Keppel’s projects included a 22-classroom building with lab facilities for science classes, a new gymnasium, and a three-story building that houses band and choir on one of the floors. The bond money funded Alhambra High’s new classrooms and an auditorium, while San Gabriel High received money to renovate classrooms, an auditorium, football field, and baseball field. Century High also received money to replace the “portables” with new classrooms and facilities.
Audit reports showed AUSD’s appropriate use of bond money for visible construction projects listed in the ballot language for the fiscal years of 2010 and 2011.