Clovis Unified School District trustees agreed Wednesday night to put a $298 million bond measure on next year's primary election ballot.
The board voted 6-0 to move forward with the bond measure election, which will be in February or June 2012. District officials will know by early September when the election will be held.
If it passes, 80% of the money will pay to repair many of the district's aging schools and facilities; 60% of the district's schools will be more than 20 years old in 2012.
Bond money would revamp systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, which are more advanced now than when they were installed during the Clovis schools building boom in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The district also is targeting improvements for its vocational programs and classrooms. The bond would pay design costs of a new educational complex and construction of a new elementary school.
But the lion's share -- about 80% of the dollars -- would pay for improvements such as upgrading classrooms, science and computer laboratories, repairing schools with leaky roofs, plumbing problems and old electrical systems and renovating other facilities such as stadiums, walkways and play fields.
One demand made by trustees was to keep property taxes at the current level or lower. Money borrowed for the bond measure is repaid by residents through property taxes.
"That's a very important piece of it so there is no impact on anybody's financial situation," said Kelly Avants, district spokeswoman.
Clovis Unified has other bonds still being paid off, but the number of taxpaying properties has risen, spreading the costs of the bond over more property owners. In addition, property tax assessments have dropped in recent years.
"As of right now, the tax rate is scheduled to go down a little bit," Avants said.
Interim superintendent Steve Ward said the district should emphasize in the ballot language that the bond money is for school-related projects -- not employees' salaries.
By going to voters during a general election cycle in 2012, the district will need 55% voter approval to pass the bond measure instead of the two-thirds required in other election cycles.
Since 1986, district voters have passed five bond measures, most recently for $168 million in 2004.
The reporter can be reached at email@example.com
or (559) 441-6166.