By Shawn Raymundo

The first drafts of the Capistrano Unified School District’s proposed ballot measures to get funding to upgrade school facilities and classrooms in Dana Point and San Clemente were presented to the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Since the district’s previous $889 million Measure M bond in the 2016 election failed to gather enough support from voters, receiving only 45% approval—55% is the threshold to pass—CUSD has been considering calling for a pair of regional bond measures to be placed on the ballot for the March 2020 Primary Election.

The proposed bonds for the Western and Southern School Facilities Improvement Districts, or SFIDs, propose a tax levy of $34 for every $100,000 of assessed property value. Only voters in those districts would have a say in whether the bonds pass.

The Western SFID encompasses a region that includes schools in Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel and Dana Point—excluding Capistrano Beach—while the Southern SFID incorporates San Clemente and its schools.

The Western SFID bond is expected to provide the district with $293 million in proceeds to renovate schools in that region. A large percentage of the funds raised from that bond, if passed, would pay for upgrades at Dana Hills High School, Aliso Niguel High School and Niguel Hills Middle School.

The Southern SFID is expected to yield $113 million in proceeds. If voters in San Clemente pass that bond, more than $87 million of those funds would pay for classroom renovations and new buildings at San Clemente High School.

According to the drafts of the ballot measures, campus upgrades would include repairs to old and damaged roofs, as well as cracked and worn ceilings and walls. Money from the bonds could also be used to replace aging equipment for plumbing, electrical, gas and other utility systems and replace playground equipment, among other things.

The drafts also note that none of the proceeds from the bonds would go toward salaries for teachers and administrators. It also anticipates the final fiscal year of the tax collection to be 2048-49.

CUSD is looking to have the trustees approve the bond measures during the board’s Oct. 16 meeting, officially calling for them to be placed on the March 3 ballots. The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held at CUSD headquarters in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

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