The Sonora Union High School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to place a general obligation bond on the Nov. 6 ballot, seeking money for school repairs.
The measure would place a $22 to $24 tax on every $100,000 of assessed value on homes within Sonora Union High School District boundaries, according to Superintendent Mike McCoy.
The duration and exact amount of the bond will be decided in coming months, McCoy said.
Board President Ed Clinite gave an estimate of $23 million. He added that the board would prefer the public to focus on the less daunting figure of $22 to $24 for every $100,000 of home value.
“The last (Sonora High) bond that was assessed that we can find was maybe around 50 years ago,” Clinite said. “In fact, there was really no record of the last bond that we have asked the community to support.”
The money would go to revamp aging school facilities, particularly humanities classrooms, the library and cafeteria. McCoy said that technology infrastructure is also in need of upgrading.
Specific repair priorities include leaky roofs, deteriorating plumbing and outdated heating, ventilation and electrical systems.
“We’ve done a good job of maintaining our facilities,” McCoy said. “But our students deserve to have up-to-date and modern facilities.”
He said that the district has sought alternative sources of funding for the repairs, including grants, but the scope of its need left it with no choice but to put a bond issue on the ballot.
The money wouldn’t be spent on salaries, operating expenses or any needs not related to “brick and mortar” projects.
“When you do go out for a bond, you must clearly define the purposes that the bond is going to be spent on,” said district Chief Business Official Kim Burr. “And it’s one-time money. It’s general facilities that are in sad need of repair that are getting addressed.”
Clinite added that bond funds would benefit the entire community, since many Sonora High facilities are used by non-student groups and individuals.
“We need to improve some buildings and provide recreational facilities that everyone enjoys,” he said.
The district has been meeting with community members since January. Isom Advisors, a Walnut Creek-based consulting firm that worked with Sonora Elementary School District on the passage of its bond issue, has helped Sonora High research options.
To pass, Sonora High’s bond issue would require a “supermajority” of at least 55 percent voter approval on the November ballot.
In recent years, several other school districts have benefitted from bond issues.
Summerville Union High School District’s $9.9 million Measure Q passed in 1998. Measure G, an $8 million extension of Measure Q, was narrowly defeated in 2010.
Summerville High’s Board of Education is set to vote tonight on whether to reattempt the $8 million extension of Measure Q this year.
The funds would be used for the football field, computer upgrades, making the campus compliant with ADA regulations, and other projects, according to Board of Education President Cheri Farrell.
Residents of the Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District passed a $9.3 million bond issue in 2005 to finance projects that included the modernization of Tenaya Elementary School.
Sonora Elementary passed a $7.8 million bond issue, Measure H, in 2010 to fund classroom construction, plumbing overhaul and other projects.
In 2008, Bret Harte High School District voters approved an $18 million bond issue that has built new science labs and classrooms and a school and community-use pool in Angels Camp.
Bret Harte recently received news that it will get an additional $2 million in state funding for its construction projects.