$67.5 million Westside bond on ballot

first_imgLANCASTER – To cope with 4,000 more students in the next five years, the Westside Union School District is asking voters to pass a $67.5 million bond measure to build three elementary schools and a middle school. Measure K on the June 6 ballot also would help pay to replace portable buildings with permanent ones and upgrade existing classrooms and school facilities. “Westside is desperate for funds to build schools. Without the bond, we are going to be in a world of hurt,” board President Gwen Farrell said. “We hate to go back to the public again, but this is the only way to come up with funds to provide classrooms for the kids. It takes all three – it takes state bonds, local bonds and developer fees to build schools. Westside people have always been gracious and supported the school district and hopefully they will do that again.” If passed, the measure would raise property taxes about $27 per $100,000 assessed valuation. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Westside district voters in June 1989 narrowly approved an $8.5 million bond measure, passed with 23 votes more than the minimum two-thirds then necessary. In 1998, district voters approved extending the school construction tax to 2026 to raise $14.7 million. The current bond tax started at $30 per $100,000 assessed value but has since dropped to about $18 because there are more homes and higher average values, district officials said. The 11-school, 8,700-student district is attempting to pass the new bond proposal under Proposition 39, which requires a 55 percent vote and the formation of a citizen oversight committee to monitor bond spending. The state will provide $21 million in matching funds, district officials said. “We are very anxious to have the community support us on the bond. We would certainly want to continue doing a great job with students,” Superintendent Regina Rossall said. “We’ve done well academically by the community’s children, and we want to continue to do that. As schools get more crowded that’s more difficult to do.” State law limits how much school districts can charge home builders for building the homes that bring in new students. Westside charges $2.57 a square foot, or about $5,654 for a new 2,200-square-foot home. On top of Westside fees, the high school district charges an additional $1.57 a square foot. “The developers pay what is required of them by the state, and we have to come up with the rest of the funds, either through a match or with local funds,” Farrell said. Rossall said that the 4,000-student increase by year 2011 is a conservative estimate. There are about 22,000 new homes in some stage of development in the district between the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, Rossall said. Westside wants to build at least three elementary schools, two in northwest Lancaster and one around Sundown School, which is located near 62nd Street West and Avenue J-8, and a middle school in the Ritter Ranch master-plan community in southwest Palmdale. A 1,925-home, master-plan community near 95th Street West and Avenue H has two school sites set aside there, Rossall said. Other projects include expanding the library and computer lab at Rancho Vista School and replacing Cottonwood School’s portable multipurpose room with a permanent building that will have office space, a larger cafeteria, computer lab, library and special education classrooms. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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