Local Politics

Tuesday, Nov 06 2012 10:18 PM

Panama-Buena Vista, Standard voters authorize school bonds

BY COURTENAY EDELHART Californian staff writer cedelhart@bakersfield.com

Voters in the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District handily approved a $147 million bond measure to upgrade the district's aging infrastructure.

With all precincts reporting, Measure P passed with 63.69 percent of the vote. Fifty-five percent was required for passage of that and other school bond measures across Kern County.

Voters also gave the nod to the Standard School District's Measure Q, which reauthorized $11.2 million in previously approved general obligation bonds. It prevailed with 69.24 percent approval with all precincts reporting.

The McFarland Unified School District's Measure M also won approval with 75.22 percent of the vote. Mojave Unified School District's bond measure narrowly passed, with 50.40 percent, but Elk Hills School District voters defeated its bond measure 57.02 percent to 42.98 percent.

Panama-Buena Vista, a K-8 district serving southwest Bakersfield, was seeking a temporary property tax of $27.90 per year for every $100,000 of assessed valuation. That works out to about $50 a year for the average household.

It could take about 25 years -- depending on property values and tax revenue -- to pay off a series of bonds that will be issued over time.

The bond reauthorization in Standard will not add to the district's debt, said Superintendent Kevin Silberberg. It will just take advantage of lower interest rates to save taxpayers interest payments on existing debt.

"It made a lot of fiscal sense," he said.

Standard, a K-8 district in Oildale, is using the money for campus repairs and upgrades.

The bond issue will save Standard taxpayers up to $55 million in interest payments. Voters first approved the original bond issue in 2006.

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