Voters may be asked to approve up to $150 million for schools’ maintenance and capital improvements
■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Editor
Hemet Unified is once again considering a $100-$150 million bond measure for capital improvements on one of the 2018 ballots. The effort was initially discussed for the 2016 election cycle, but was put on hold. The city of Hemet passed Measure U, a 1 percent general fund tax, in November 2016 after Measure E, a 1 percent tax earmarked for public safety, failed that June.
CliffordMoss, a firm that assists public entities build support for ballot measures, was charged with the task of identifying if a measure would pass. Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) conducted the survey for CliffordMoss.
A previously published report in the Idyllwild Town Crier states that the consultants recommended that the bond be placed on the November ballot after surveying 681 voters in the Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) last month. The report also indicated that a majority of voters felt that infrastructure improvements are needed and that those improvements raise property values.
The results were somewhat in the middle regarding the district’s performance. The report also said that the majority of respondents (55 percent) would support the measure in November with a “tenth of those who were ‘undecided, but lean yes.’”
Idyllwild School is in the Hemet Unified School District.
Adam Sonenshein and John Fairbank of FM3, and Bonnie Moss of CliffordMoss presented the survey results to the Hemet Unified School Board at its Jan. 23 meeting. The results, however, were not included in the minutes from that meeting.
To pass, the bond measure needs 55 percent of voters to approve it.
In November 2006, voters passed Measure T to fund “$79 million for new construction and $70 million for improvements to older school facilities,” according to the district’s website.
Measure T had an independent citizens’ oversight committee. On average, the measure cost property owners within the district about $42 per year per $100,000 of assessed valuation.
Measure U, a bond that allowed HUSD to borrow another $49 million, was approved in November 2012 by the necessary 55 percent supermajority, according to the HUSD website. With the November election just over eight months away, the school district may be under pressure to decide whether or not it should move forward with the proposed bond measure.