Some of Clovis Unified's schools are starting to show signs of aging, with leaky roofs and old air-conditioning and heating systems, while others need to be modernized.
All of the district's more than 47 schools need some work, which is why the district wants voters in June to approve a $298 million bond measure.
Green, blue and white signs circled the lawn outside the Center for Advanced Research and Technology on Thursday night as hundreds of people chanted "C-L-O-V-I-S" and "Pass Measure A" inside the school's lobby. The pep rally included "Blues Brothers" imitators performing "Bond Man" and speeches from local officials, including Clovis Unified schools Superintendent Janet Young.
Over the next three months, the Measure A campaign committee, headed by retired Superintendent Terry Bradley, hopes to convince voters to pass the bond measure by noting that it will maintain the existing tax rate. If the measure fails, annual tax bills for the average home valued at $205,900 would drop by $64.75, district officials said Wednesday.
The measure needs 55% voter approval to pass. But it could be a tricky time to place a bond measure before voters, especially if the Republican presidential nomination is still undecided by the June 5 statewide primary, which could attract more GOP voters to the polls.
District officials say they've reached out to Republican partisans, many of whom have supported Clovis Unified bond measures in the past. They also earned the support of the conservative-leaning Clovis Chamber of Commerce and some local Tea Party officials.
Don Watnick, a member of Central Valley Tea Party in Fresno, is treasurer for the Yes on A Campaign and was a member of the citizens committee that defined the priority projects.
He said the Tea Party does not generally offer endorsements, but he expects individuals to back the measure.
The Republican Party Central Committee also heard a presentation and all but one of 30 people attending supported the measure, Watnick said.
No opposition has been filed to Measure A in Fresno County voter pamphlets that will be distributed to voters. The deadline to file opposition has passed.
This bond measure is a little different from earlier Clovis Unified measures that focused on building schools to meet the district's fast growth. This year's measure primarily targets school maintenance, repairs and upgraded classrooms and technology -- about 60% of Clovis Unified schools are at least 20 years old.
In the past, the district spent 80% of bond proceeds on new schools, but in this year's measure 80% will be spent on repairs and upgrades, with only 20% for new school sites and construction of a new southeast Clovis elementary school.
Bond measure funds will be spent at every school, district officials said.
The bond measure was recommended by a citizens committee that identified $440 million in potential projects, said Don Ulrich, assistant superintendent for facilities services. The committee set priorities and settled on $298 million for the bond measure because it would not raise the existing tax rate, he said.
If Measure A is approved, work could start later this year, officials said.