Local News

Monday, Aug 13 2012 04:46 PM

Five school districts place bonds on November ballot

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Four Kern County school districts have placed general obligation bonds on the Nov. 6 ballot, and one other has placed a parcel tax bond, Kern County Elections Division records show.

The general obligation bonds need a 55 percent "yes" vote to pass, and for the most part are aimed at updating and revamping aging campuses. The parcel tax bond -- placed by Mojave Unified School District -- needs a two-thirds "yes" vote, and is aimed at maintaining school programs, staff and facilities.

Since 2005, 26 K-12 school bonds have gone to voters, and all but five have been approved. Norris and Taft City school districts' bonds, the most recent bonds sent to voters, barely got the 55 percent "yes" votes needed to pass.

The new bonds on the ballot are:

* Panama-Buena Vista Union School District: The $147 million bond measure is aimed at upgrading classrooms, security systems, computer labs and other facilities. If voters pass the measure in November, they would be taxed about $28 per $100,000 of their assessed home value.

* Standard School District: The $11.2 million bond measure hopes to renovate, modernize and build classrooms and other buildings at Highland, Standard Elementary, Wingland and Standard Middle campuses. If voters pass it, they would be taxed no more than $30 per $100,000, according to estimates.

Projects include improving security systems, installing solar energy systems, renovating restrooms and modernizing the district gym for better district and community use, among other things.

* McFarland Unified School District: The $25 million bond would be used to build a new elementary school to ease overcrowding, upgrade and repair classrooms and buy computers, among other things. Voters would be taxed no more than $60 per $100,000 of their assessed home value.

The district could acquire and prepare land to build a new elementary school; expand its high school; pay for new computers, school furniture, wiring and other technology; and improve playfields and other areas that will be shared with the community.

* Elk Hill School District: The $6.2 million bond would repair and replace buildings, upgrade parking lots, purchase a fuel tank to save fuel, and build four classrooms and one science center, school officials said. Tax rates were not immediately available.

* Mojave Unified: The district plans to levy a $42 per year parcel tax for five years to maintain academic programs, school buildings and activities that provide improved college and career pathways, among other things that will help offset severe budget cuts, according to ballot language.

-- Jorge Barrientos, Californian staff

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