By Brandon Yung
Photo by Matt Scholtz
School board members unanimously voted on Tuesday, July 12th to move forward with a $98 million bond measure for the school district. The approval will move the bond forward to election next year, where South Pasadena citizens will either approve or dismiss the measure. If passed, the money will go towards school facilities.
The bond measure has been in planning for the past year. After a comprehensive study conducted by the board of education, with the help of an independent firm, classroom sites and facilities were found to be areas most in need of upgrades and repairs. Some buildings were mentioned to be more than 40 years old. Board member Michele Kipke looked to the bungalow style classrooms that SPUSD uses to accommodate its large student population as an example of the outdated infrastructure.
“The portables were only supposed to be there for a few years,” Kipke said before votes were cast.
The bond measure, if passed, will mark the third and largest bond the district has ever received; the two others were passed in 1995 and 2002. The bonds in 2002 gave the district $28 million. The $98 million is aimed to both provide facilities for the currently oversized student population, as well as prepare the district for future programs and class sizes.
The bond measure will significantly increase the cost of living in South Pasadena. Higher property taxes also usually increase property value, as well as major improvements to the already sought-after public schooling. Mentions of who the change might negatively affect were made at the board meeting.
“Those on a fixed income, especially senior citizens, might think [the bond measure] will be difficult to accept,” said board member Dr. Suzie Abajian. Abajian suggested that the facilities that the measure would provide could be offered for public use — a way to get the community more invested in the bond measure.
Citizens will vote upon the measure on November 7 of next year, during municipal elections.