PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
West Covina Unified believes that students cannot excel at learning unless they feel safe and have a clean and healthy learning environment. Many of our campuses are showing their age and mere patch work and Band-Aids are no longer enough. Critical repairs and long-term improvements are now needed to sustain the aging infrastructure at our schools. The West Covina Unified School Board is addressing these current challenges with Measure ES on the November 8, 2016 election ballot.
West Covina Unified School District is committed to providing a safe and positive setting for all students and staff. Over the past few years, we have studied our school facilities with increased emphasis—because all children deserve to learn in safe, high-quality school facilities. Measure ES is a General Obligation Bond authorizing up to $143 million for school facility upgrades, improvements, and new buildings in our district. Our goal with this effort is to help make teaching and learning in all West Covina Unified schools as effective and successful as possible.
THE DISTRICT’S CRITICAL NEEDS
- Repair or replace deteriorating roofs, old rusty plumbing, heating, HVAC, and outdated electrical systems where needed.
- Provide classrooms and labs for career technology education classes so students are prepared for college and good paying jobs.
- Improve access to school facilities for students with injuries or disabilities.
- Improve student safety and campus security systems: including; security lighting, fencing and video cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and fire sprinklers.
- Provide modern labs in the key subjects of math, science, and technology.
District staff work hard to maintain our neighborhood schools and keep them in good working condition with limited resources. However, the types of upgrades that our internal assessments have identified go far beyond the scope and means of regular school maintenance budgets. Many of our schools are 50 to 60 years old and have never fully been renovated. An ongoing investment in infrastructure is critical to help ensure safety and academic success for every child attending our schools.
Will this effort improve instruction?
Yes. Our local schools strive for teaching and learning excellence in every educational setting. Our goal is to provide all students with access to the education they will need to be successful in college, jobs, and careers after they graduate from high school. Safe, modern school facilities and educational technology are essential to maintaining quality schools and giving our students a competitive edge. As school facilities are improved, teachers and students will benefit.
Has there been a WCUSD school bond before?
Voters in the West Covina School District have not voted on a school facility bond measure in 16 years. The last bond was for $40 million. It addressed safety concerns, such as replacing outdated electrical components and other items no longer in compliance with building codes. Basic technology needs were also addressed. We are now focused on the facility improvements most essential to student safety, protecting your investment in local schools, and enabling student success.
What about funding?
Our school district makes every effort to use resources wisely. However, with limited help from the state and minimal renovations to our campuses for 50 to 60 years, the burden is growing to adequately repair and upgrade our school facilities. We need to work together to protect the quality of our education system. To that end, WCUSD is exploring all options, by leveraging available maintenance and energy efficiency funds, to ensure quality school facilities for the future.
What about ongoing school maintenance? Don’t you have a facilities budget?
WCUSD maintenance and operations staff work hard to keep local schools safe and in adequate working condition. Historically, the District has kept pace with needed fire safety and critical, time-sensitive facility repairs. However, and particularly in the areas of school safety and security, the current scope of upgrades needed in WCUSD far exceeds our State-allocated budget for meeting such needs.
What about the Lottery or State Prop 30? Weren’t they supposed to fix our schools?
Unfortunately, the money WCUSD receives from the Lottery each year comprises less than 2% of our annual General Fund Budget. We use these funds to purchase textbooks and other instructional materials. Proposition 30 funds, approved by California voters in November 2012, restored earlier classroom cuts – but did not provide any new funding that our local schools need for repairs and modernization.
How will Measure ES be funded?
If approved by voters, Measure ES would be paid by property taxes estimated to not exceed $60 per $100,000 per year of assessed valuation (not market value) or about $163 per year for the typical homeowner for as long as bonds are outstanding.
Where can I go for more information?
You can visit our Web site at www.wcusd.org click on the Measure ES logo, or if you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Charles Hinman, Superintendent, at (626) 939-4600.
WCUSD School Board vote to place bond measure before district voters in November
West Covina, CA – During the West Covina Unified School District (WCUSD) regular board meeting on August 9, 2016, the Board voted 5 – 0 to place a General Obligation Bond Measure before voters on the November 8, 2016 ballot.
If approved by 55% of the voters, Measure ES would provide up to $143 Million to fund the repair and/or replacement of deteriorating roofs, plumbing, heating, HVAC, and electrical systems. The upgrade of classrooms is necessary to support high quality math, science, performing arts, and engineering programs. The bond money would also be used to improve school safety by upgrading campus communication systems.
Superintendent, Dr. Charles Hinman explains, “We need to give our students the best opportunity to succeed. They continue to impress me with their eagerness to learn. Test scores are improving, and we can boast about having one of the highest graduation rates in our great state. We are teaching them the new state standards and investing in new technology, but our infrastructure, as it stands today, cannot keep up with the pace of education.”
Success of Measure ES will also help to ensure WCUSD remains one of the top school districts in California with state of the art innovations that encourage student learning and higher achievement.
If approved, Measure ES could also provide millions in State matching funds, pending approval of the statewide facilities bond (Proposition 51) in November. All money generated from the bond measure will be spent on repairs, upgrades, and improving classroom technology infrastructure. Per the law, money garnered from this measure will not be used to fund employee salaries or benefits, including teacher or administrator pensions.
Along with the bond funding, the district will need to follow accountability measures that go beyond what is required. The district will be forming an Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee, as well as a School Facilities and Finance Advisory Committee to provide input, advice and recommendations on school facilities and finance.