SJUSD voters overwhelmingly approve Measure Y for school improvements
■ By Dawn Lawrence / Contributed
Voters in the San Jacinto Unified School District boundary approved, by a large margin, Measure Y, a local Proposition 39 General Obligation school bond measure for SJUSD facilities and technology upgrades to improve student safety, instruction, and learning.
The bond measure required 55 percent voter support, and final official election results for Riverside County were posted Dec. 6 with 72.92% voter support for Measure Y.
“We thank all the voters for the support we received, because our schools truly are aging and outdated,” said Seth Heeren, SJUSD assistant superintendent of business services. “We know the state of our classrooms impact teaching and learning and we need the right tools and surroundings to equip students in and for the 21st century. Now we can really make headway with use of these bond funds.”
The district plans to apply for facility funds from the state since the California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative, also known as Proposition 51, was also approved by statewide voters in November. Only districts that pass a local school bond qualify for additional state funding for new construction and upgrades.
“It was also important the statewide bond measure was approved because it will really help our local bond measure dollars go further for our priority projects,” said Michael Collins, director of SJUSD’s Facilities & Operations Department. “We wanted to be eligible for 50 percent funding for new school construction or 60 percent funding for modernization projects—and we hope to now act quickly to secure those additional funds!” noted Collins.
SJUSD Superintendent Diane Perez believes the bond measure effort was so successful because of the district’s significant increase in graduation and college-going rates.
“Our local campaign co-chairs, Calvin Smith and Sandra Peñaloza, did an amazing job of rallying the troops and sharing the great things happening in our schools!” said Perez. “We can’t thank [them] enough for their support, as well as our district leadership team that worked many nights and weekends. I thank the incredible community of San Jacinto for investing in our kids!”
The district formally recognized the campaign supporters at the Board of Trustee meeting on Dec. 13. Heeren noted that the next step for SJUSD will be to focus on the most critical facilities and technology needs, as well as safety and security upgrades and present the priority project schedule to Board for approval.
The district will also seek necessary additional members for their Authorized Bond Measures Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee that monitors bond finances to ensure the public on strict use of bond proceeds.
For more information about (or to apply for) the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee, contact Mary Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org.