Survey suggests Conejo Valley voters would support school bond
A survey of Conejo Valley voters has found modest support for a $229 million school bond measure to raise money for science and technology upgrades, infrastructure repairs and campus safety.
Consultants hired by the Conejo Valley Unified School District to carry out the Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey told the Board of Education that a poll of 56,266 likely voters in the November 2014 election shows slightly more than 55 percent approve of a bond measure on the ballot. That would be sufficient for the measure to be approved.
The five-member board voted in May to give TBWB Strategies a $30,000 to do the study, which was to include a public opinion survey and suggestions on how to proceed.
Pollster Bryan Godbe presented the survey results at the board’s meeting Tuesday at district headquarters. He said voters were in tune with the need to improve science and physics labs; update Internet access, classroom technology and computers; and complete upgrades and repairs to school buildings.
He said the survey also showed that support for a bond measure would be strong if it stated that all the money would benefit local schools and replace outdated classrooms.
“The polling does suggest that the measure is feasible, but voters do want more information and input before the measure is finalized,” Godbe told the board.
Jared Boigon of TBWB laid out a proposed schedule if the board decides to move forward. It includes a period of public outreach this year and the start of the next, to be followed by a draft ballot measure.
In late spring, Boigon said, the company should survey people again about the proposed measure, refine it and hold a public hearing, with the board aiming to consider a ballot resolution in July.
Fifteen years ago, Conejo Valley voters approved Measure R, which generated $88 million for the school district. The district leveraged that to obtain $66 million more from the state and $5 million from the city of Thousand Oaks to improve school properties. The bond will be repaid by 2019.
Board member Mike Dunn said property owners would be paying two assessments until 2019 if a new bond measure is approved in November 2014 and wanted clarification on how much that would be.
The amount proposed for the new bond is $229 million, and property owners would pay $35 tax per $100,000 of assessed property value, Boigon said. For four years, that would be on top of the $28 per $100,000 they are paying for Measure R.
Superintendent Jeff Baarstad said the district could not likely leverage more money from the state, which is partly why the bond amount is much larger than the one approved 15 years ago.
“We’re being told by the state that the days of statewide facilities bonds for education are near an end,” he said. “We’ve been told: You’re going to need to take care of that stuff on your own with your own local communities.”
Baarstad said the bond money included a proposed $50 million for a technology endowment grant that could generate $3 million a year for projects for 20 years.
The remaining $180 million would be used for improvements and repairs at the district’s 33 school sites, some of which are almost 60 years old.
The board is expected to vote on whether to proceed with a bond measure proposal at its meeting Sept. 3.