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East County to vote on five school bond measures

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East County voters will be asked to support or oppose five school construction bond measures in the Nov. 6 General Election.

The five propositions total $586.2 million and would allow five school districts to sell bonds to pay for school improvements. Taxpayers would foot the bill, with interest, if any or all are passed.

The first ballot measure is Proposition C, which calls for $88.4 million in new bonds for the Cajon Valley Union School District.

In 2008, voters approved Proposition D, which allocated $156.5 million in general obligation bonds for the Cajon Valley district. Proposition C would reauthorize $88.4 million from the 2008 bond measure.

If this new measure passes, it would allow the district to continue to renovate, repairing and constructing elementary classrooms and associated school facilities like gymnasiums, and purchase new computers and upgrade related technology equipment.

To pay back the borrowed money, taxpayers would pay an additional 3 cents per every $100 of assessed property value on their property taxes, until the bonds are paid off.

The district serves 29 elementary and middle schools, which were built from 1949 to 2007.

Supporters of Proposition C say money should be borrowed now, because of low interest rates and because the reauthorization bonds will not cause any increase in total debit.

Supporters include the vice president of the Cajon Valley Education Foundation and two members of the citizens’ bond oversight committee for the 2008’s Proposition D.

No one has publicly come out against Proposition C.

The Yes on C campaign has received $27,775 in contributions, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters as of Oct. 20.

Donors include Eric Davy from Davy Architecture, Erickson-Hall Construction and the West Coast Air Conditioning Co.

The second construction school bond measure in the East County also asks voters to approve the reauthorization of new bonds from previously approved Proposition M.

The Dehesa School District is asking for $3 million in additional bonds to continue to pay for improvements to district campuses.

If Proposition D is passed, it would allow the district to buy new computers, repair school equipment and continue to fund construction of new classrooms, a science lab and library.

Proposition D supporters say the 2010 bond measure didn’t generate enough money to complete the improvements needed and that by passing Proposition D it would release the $3 million in bond now, at $30 per $100,000 assessed property value, rather than 30 years from now.

Supporters include district board members and some business owners. No one has publicly opposed Proposition D. As of Oct. 20, no money has been contributed for or against Proposition D campaigns.

The third bond measure in the East County belongs to Proposition G and the Mountain Empire Unified School District.

If passed, taxpayers would allow the district to sell $30.8 million in construction bonds.

Seven schools would see improvements that would include replacing portable classrooms with permanent buildings; purchasing new classroom equipment; repairing hard surfaces like parking lots and ramps; installing new renewable energy systems; and doing as-needed repairs to schools like inspections to determine the presence of hazardous materials or substances.

An independent oversight committee would be assembled and annual audits would be performed if Proposition G is passed.

Taxpayers would be assessed an additional $36.50 for every $100,000 on their property taxes each year until the bonds are paid off.

Opponents of Proposition G say it is a bad measure because it will take more than 50 years to pay back the construction bonds, according to the Mountain Empire Coalition Against Proposition G.

Those in favor of Proposition G say improvements and repairs at the district campuses are needed now, and will only get worse and cost more in the long run. The San Diego County Taxpayers Association approves this proposition.

As of Oct. 20, there has been $98,090 donated to the “Yes on G” campaign with some of the major contributors including Erickson-Hall Construction and Lusardi Construction.

No money has been contributed in opposition to Proposition G.

The fourth bond measure is for the Ramona Unified School District.

Proposition R is a $66 million measure that calls for repairing leaky roofs, upgrading infrastructure systems, building new classrooms, updating and buying new computers and associated equipment, installing solar panels and improving playgrounds and sports fields. Schools in this district were built from 1936 to 2005.

If Proposition R is approved, taxpayers would be charged 6cents per every $100 of assessed property value.

No one has publicly opposed Proposition R.

Those in favor of the bond measure say the money is needed to replace or renovate career technical and job-training classrooms; increase student access to computers and modern technology; and make improvements to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

As of Oct. 20, $15,780 has been contributed to the Yes on Proposition R campaign.

Some of the larger contributors include Balfour Beatty Construction, Borrego Solar Systems and the Ramona Teachers Association.

There have not been any donations reported for a campaign against Proposition R.

The largest construction bond measure, in terms of dollar amount, is Proposition V.

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is asking for $398 million so it can upgrade career training facilities for science, medical, public safety and other in-demand fields; create a Veterans Support Center on each campus; modernize technology in classrooms, libraries and science labs; and improve access for people with disabilities.

To pay back these construction bonds, residents would have to pay $16.94 per every $100,000 of assessed valuation of property.

No one has publicly opposed Proposition V.

Those for the bond measure say these improvements are needed because of the growing need in the community for career and job training facilities and programs.

There has been $153,950 in money contributed for the “Yes on V” campaign.

Some of the bigger donors include Hamann Co., a political action committee of the Associated General Contractors and PCL Construction Services Inc.

Each of these five propositions must pass by 55 percent. Taxpayers would be assessed for these bond measures beginning in 2013 if passed.

The final maturity date of any bond could be no later than 25 years or 40 years after the date the bonds are issued, according to state law.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters said the 11 school bond measures county-wide on the November ballot are the most since 2003. The Registrar could not go back any further than 10 years to check records.

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