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Fremont Unified School District Bond Issue, Measure E (June 2014)

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A Fremont Unified School District Bond Issue, Measure E ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the Fremont Unified School District in Alameda County, California, where it was approved.

Measure E authorized the district to increase its debt by $650 million through issuing general obligation bonds in that amount. This bond debt was designed to be paid off by 2051.[1]

Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) residents who pay property taxes were, prior to the measure's approval, paying for two bonds from 1991 and 2002. Since voters approved Measure E, if they renew the district's parcel tax, taxpayers with a home of average value - $450,000 - would be set to see their property taxes increase from $191 per year to $479 per year in 2018.[1]

A 55% supermajority vote was required for the approval of Measure E.

Election results

Measure E
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 15,971 61.18%
No10,13538.82%
Election results from Alameda County Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[2]

To upgrade/repair neighborhood schools with local funding the State cannot take away, shall Fremont Unified School District update technology/aging classrooms, math, science/computer labs for 21st Century learning, upgrade electrical wiring to current safety codes, fix/replace leaky roofs, aging plumbing/restrooms, remove asbestos, repair, construct, acquire equipment, classrooms, sites, facilities, by issuing $650 million of bonds at legal rates, with citizen oversight, no money for administrators, salaries, benefits/pensions, and all funds for Fremont schools? [3]

Full text

The full text of the ordinance enacted by the Measure E is available here.

Support

Supporters

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure E:[2]

  • Bill Harrison, mayor of the city of Fremont
  • Ujjwala Gadgil, president of Fremont Council of Parent-Teacher Associations
  • Dr. Bernard Stewart DDS, president of Washington Healthcare System Board of Directors
  • Peggy Herndon, chief financial officer of a local business, 2002 Bond Oversight Committee member and Former FUSD Trustee
  • Steve Cho, former vice mayor of the city of Fremont

Arguments in favor

Official arguments

The following was submitted as the official argument in favor of Measure E:[2]

Measure E is about one thing: lmproving Fremont schools for Fremont children. The Fremont Unified School District, over the past several years, has made significant improvement in the quality of classroom instruction that has resulted in improved academic performance throughout the district. Aging schools and inadequate facilities threaten this progress.

Our District's 42 schools - with an average age of over 50 years - serve a growing student population of over 33,000 students. Recently, an independent evaluation of each school confirmed that schools are crowded, many classrooms inadequate, with science labs, classroom technology and electrical systems outdated. At many schools, roofs need repair, dangerous asbestos must be removed, plumbing and heating systems are failing, and lighting, wiring and electrical outlets are inadequate to meet the needs of 21st century classrooms.

Measure E has been placed on the ballot to address the most critical needs. Measure E will provide funding to upgrade classrooms, computer systems, science labs and student restrooms. Measure E will ensure that each school has the facilities to provide quality science instruction and classroom technology to prepare students for college and careers.

Measure E will make our schools safer with alarms, exterior lighting and safety locks. Measure E will fix leaky roofs; replace outdated wiring and aging plumbing.

All the money raised stays in our community and cannot be taken away by the State. Measure E money will not be used to pay for administrator or teacher salaries.

Measure E is an investment in our children and our local schools. Safe, quality schools protect property values and Measure E protects the quality of Fremont's schools. The cost of

Measure E is deductible on state and federal taxes.

Please join business and community leaders, educators and parents to provide up-to-date classrooms and technology that our students need to succeed.

Please vote YES on Measure E. Thank you [3]

—Bill Harrison, Ujjwala Gadgil, Dr. Bernard Stewart, Peggy Herndon and Steve Cho, [2]

Editorials

  • The Contra Costa Times: The editorial board of the Contra Costa Times wrote the following endorsement of Measure E:[1]

Yes on Fremont School District Measure E: The district is taking a measured approach to upgrading facilities. After identifying $1.6 billion of needs, the district pared to $407 million in today's dollars. Anticipating construction will take eight or nine years, the district seeks approval of $650 million of bonds to account for contingencies and inflation. [3]

—Contra Costa Times editorial board, [1]

Opposition

Opponents

The following individuals signed the official arguments in opposition to Measure E:[2]

  • Yolanda Bai, FUSD parent 
  • Charlotte Allen, retired Fremont homeowner 
  • Brenda Sue Strand, paralegal 
  • Mark Benz, Fremont taxpayer 
  • Kathryn McDonald, Fremont citizen 

Arguments against

Official arguments

The following was submitted as the official argument against Measure E:[2]

We support public education, and agree Fremont needs to improve aging facilities. However, we can't vote for Measure E, the $650 Million Fremont School District Bond, and neither should you.

This bone will cost every property owner $300-$1,100 PER YEAR, for the next 38 years with NO SENIOR EXEMPTIONS! With interest, it will cost us ~$1.7 billion, according to FUSD. For that much money, Fremont students deserve state-of-the-are facilities, not more Band-Aids on crumbling buildings.

Of the $650 Million, only about $160 Million is for urgent and infrastructure needs. We still have more than 10 years to pay for FUSD's 2002 $157 Million bond, costing ~311 million, and our school sill need another bond in a few years to fix the same things, again. Roughly $250 of the $650 Million will be used to just "upgrade" five Junior High Schools. FUSD must stop wasting money fixing 50-year-old-buildings. For $50 million each, other districts like Menlo Park completely rebuilt a Junior High from the ground up.

The remaining nearly 40%, ~$240 MILLION is to offset "inflation and unexpected costs." This is a vague, unprioritized discretionary "slush fund." Further, the bond language allows FUSD to make us pay to buy land and build schools for students from the new massive housing developments approved by the City. The Developers must be required to provide land and facilities to meet the needs of new students they will bring into their new developments. We should not subsidize builders with our school tax dollars.

Fremont's students deserve new 21st Century schools, but won't get them from this, the largest proposed School Bond in Alameda County's history!

Vote NO on Measure E, the $650 MILLION FUSD Bond. [3]

—Yolanda Bai, Charlotte Allen, Brenda Sue Strand, Mark Benz and Kathryn McDonald  , [2]

See also

External links

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