Sacramento-area school districts win bond victories

School districts across the Sacramento region generally had little trouble winning their school bond measures Tuesday, and often by a wide margin.

Measure J in Natomas Unified passed with 71 percent of the vote, while Measure K in the Robla School District had 72 percent support, based on ballots counted through Wednesday. Measure G in Folsom Cordova Unified had 67 percent, easily surpassing the 55 percent necessary for passage.

Among large local districts, only Woodland Unified School District saw its two bond proposals, worth a combined $97 million, go down in defeat.

The local trend was part of a successful night overall for California K-12 and community college districts. Based on preliminary results, voters passed 89 of 113 bond measures across the state, according to School Services of California.

The Natomas bond will raise $129 million to upgrade 19 schools. The district projects that it will need at least two new elementary schools to keep up with population growth, especially when a building moratorium ends, district officials said during the campaign. The community has lived under a building freeze since 2008, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency determined levees in the area were at risk of failing.

“We are very grateful for the continued support of our community,” said Natomas Superintendent Chris Evans. “We are very pleased.”

In early 2015, district staff will assess how much money is available, consider growth projections and examine facility needs to come up with a priority list to present to the school board, he said. The Natomas bond measure will cost its taxpayers about $59 a year per $100,000 of assessed property value.

Folsom Cordova Unified’s bond will generate $195 million to update schools in Folsom neighborhoods north of Highway 50. It will cost city taxpayers an estimated $60 per $100,000 of assessed property value each year.

“We are grateful to Folsom voters for trusting us to make facilities improvements that will positively affect student achievement and provide more student opportunities in the career technical education arena,” said Folsom Cordova Superintendent Debbie Bettencourt.

Some of the money will help customize classrooms for programs such as culinary arts and information technology. District officials plan to replace 25-year-old portables with permanent classrooms and improve technology.

The Robla bond will provide $29.8 million to build a school and remodel the six the district currently operates. It is expected to cost taxpayers $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value each year.

“We are extremely excited,” said Robla board President Craig DeLuz. “We believe we will have in place a solid plan to upgrade, improve and modernize our program that will last us 20 years.”

DeLuz said district officials knew the north area community supported the bond early in the process. “One of the advantages of being a small district is that we get input right away,” he said.

The money will be used to remodel district schools, most of which were built in the World War II era, DeLuz said. The bond will allow the district to seek matching state funds to build classrooms in place of aging portables.

The district hopes to finish renovation of Main Avenue Elementary School. DeLuz said the district has already remodeled half of the classroom wings, as well as the new multipurpose facility shared by the community.

Washington Unified School District voters approved Measure V, a $49.8 million bond proposal, 66 percent to 34 percent. Leaders in the West Sacramento district said the money will help repair aging campuses, fix leaking windows and remove dry rot, as well as update classrooms.

In Woodland, however, voters rejected Measure S ($78 million) and Measure T ($19 million). Measure S had only 42 percent support, while Measure T had 41 percent, well below the 55 percent necessary.

Western Placer Unified School District won 61 percent support for Measure A, which will provide $60 million to begin the planning and construction of a new high school in the Twelve Bridges Development Area of Lincoln and modernize classrooms at Lincoln High School.

The bond will cost taxpayers $30 per $100,000 of their property value annually.

Call The Bee’s Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert.