Frequently Asked Questions
Measure BB on the November 2018 Ballot
When and why was Santa Clara Unified’s Measure BB placed on the November 2018 ballot?
On August 7, 2018, the Santa Clara Unified School Board placed a bond measure on the November 2018 ballot. The bond program plan reflects the District’s commitment to investing in excellence across all 28 Santa Clara Unified public schools so that our schools are safe and clean and every Santa Clara student gets the best possible science, technology, math, and core arts education. The total amount of the bond measure is $720 million. Bond funds can only be spent to benefit Santa Clara Unified Schools and cannot be taken away by the state.
Why does Measure BB matter? How do school facilities relate to excellence in the classroom?
Excellent teaching and learning are directly related to quality school facilities – and our facilities staff work hard to keep our schools up to date and innovative. Here in the heart of Silicon Valley, we are on the right track. We’ve introduced new STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – spaces, opened a STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art, and math – based elementary school, and are converting two schools to full computer science immersion. But there is much more work to do to ensure all 28 schools meet new and future standards. We have to upgrade all of our schools, not just a few. Our Facilities Needs Summary plan detailed our needs, and we prioritized those needs to address our most crucial priorities. The November measure is the only way we will be able to fund these critical needs.
How was the plan developed to continue investments in excellence for our school facilities?
The detailed Facilities Needs Summary plan, adopted by the School Board, was built with the expertise of our facilities team and input received from constituents across our community through our mail survey, online questionnaire, and direct individual conversations, as well input from our five-year strategic planning process.
What are the School District’s most critical facility needs?
- Build science and engineering labs and career technical education facilities so students are prepared for college and in-demand careers.
- Repair and replace leaky roofs, old rusty plumbing, and faulty electrical and air conditioning systems.
- Upgrade older schools so they meet the same safety and academic standards as newer schools.
- Provide the facilities and technology needed to support high-quality instruction in science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
- Improve access to school facilities for students with disabilities.
- Secure school campuses by improving fencing, security cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinklers.
Will investing in excellence for our facilities improve instruction?
Yes. We strive for teaching and learning excellence in every educational setting. Studies show that students and teachers perform better in safe, modern classrooms and school facilities. As the communities we serve continue to grow and change, so must we. Our top priority is to prepare students of all ages and abilities for success in a rapidly evolving, ever-changing world, including in the colleges and careers of the future. As school facilities and classroom technologies are improved, teaching and learning will benefit.
What about ongoing school maintenance? Don’t you have a facilities budget?
Our school district maintenance and operations staff work hard to keep our schools safe and in adequate working condition. To complete all necessary future repairs in alignment with what new schools of the future will require and growing enrollment, the current budget is not sufficient to keep all of our schools at a similar standard of repair.
Have there been previous SCUSD facility bonds? If so, when?
Yes. Ongoing bond programs are necessary in a large district that continues to grow rapidly every year. In 1997, Measure B passed, for $145M, to address critical facility needs where the needs far exceeded the bond allotment. In 2004, Measure J passed, a $315M bond to relieve overcrowding and ensure seismic safety. Still, the District’s list of needs was not fully met. In 2010, Measure H passed for $81M for limited purposes to purchase land for new classrooms, energy upgrades, and safety. In 2014, voters approved a new Measure H, a $419M bond for facilities improvements to repair deteriorated drainage systems, improve school safety systems, add additional classroom space to relieve overcrowding, and begin to modernize outdated classrooms and technologies.
All previous bonds have now been spent or the funds are committed. This new bond measure is desperately needed to keep pace with our growing list of needs and our commitment to academic excellence in every school across our District.
Does SCUSD currently collect a parcel tax to support schools?
No. The Board of Trustees chose to let the District’s previous parcel tax expire in 2017 and did not ask for voters to renew it. As a result, SCUSD property owners will save money when they pay this year’s assessments.
How much will Measure BB cost me?
Though the District’s facility needs are more than $1.5B, the School Board prioritized that list to develop a prudent, responsible bond package of $720 million. This is likely the minimum amount the District would require to meet all of its needs. The bond is paid for by a maximum estimated property tax of 4.88 cents per $100 (or $48.80 per $100,000) of assessed home value.
Note: This is the Proposition 13 assessed valuation – If you’ve lived in your home for a long time, your assessed valuation will be low, and so will your payment for this bond measure.
As an example, the median assessed value of a home in Santa Clara is roughly $500,000. The estimated cost of this bond for that homeowner would be $244 per year.
My children are grown and gone. Why should I care about investing in our local schools?
Good public schools are the foundation of any healthy, thriving community. Good schools protect property values.
Now that the measure is on the ballot, who makes the final decision about whether it passes?
The Santa Clara Unified School District placed the bond on the ballot. Now, voters in the District (which includes Santa Clara, part of Sunnyvale, and part of North San Jose) will make the ultimate decision. This particular school bond must receive 55% of all votes cast on the measure to prevail.
Who will be eligible to vote on a local facilities improvement bond?
All registered voters within Santa Clara Unified School District registered by October 22 are eligible to vote on the measure.
Where can I go for more information?