Education Lab

$300m bond aimed at Clovis Unified schools

Clovis Unified School District officials might ask voters to support a $300 million bond measure next year to fix and modernize many of the district's aging schools.

Most of the money would pay for repairs and upgrades at many of the district's schools, Superintendent David Cash said Wednesday during a meeting with The Bee's editorial board.

About two-thirds of the schools in the 38,000-student district will be 20 years or older next year, school officials say.

Systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning are much more advanced now than during a school building boom in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when those schools were built, Cash said.

A committee that includes business owners, educators, parents and a taxpayer's association representative will examine and rank Clovis Unified's building needs and then make recommendations to the school board.

District trustees will have the final say and could vote as early as this summer to put the measure on next year's primary ballot, Cash said. The primary is now scheduled for Feb. 7.

By going to voters during a general election cycle in 2012, the district would need 55% approval to pass a school bond measures instead of the two-thirds -- 66.67% -- required in other election cycles.

A survey conducted by a polling firm in March found 59% of 600 district residents either leaning toward or supporting the proposed bond measure.

One of the district's goals for the bond is not to raise property taxes, Cash said. A $300 million bond measure may even slightly lower the existing tax burden of property owners, he said.

Since 1986, district voters have passed five bond measures, most recently for $168 million in 2004.