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Fremont school board places $650 million bond measure on June ballot

It would be Fremont Unified’s largest bond measure. Do you plan to vote for it?

FREMONT — The school district’s aging facilities are in such need of major repair that board members have placed Fremont Unified’s largest bond, a $650 million campus-improvement measure, on the June ballot.

The five-member board’s unanimous decision came last week in response to a report that found the district’s renovation wish list could cost as much as $1.6 billion, Superintendent James Morris said.

The bond money would be spent to remove asbestos, renovate deteriorating classrooms and science labs, update technology infrastructure and repair faulty electrical wiring in a district with 33,000 students using facilities nearly a half-century old, he said.

“All 42 of our (campuses) are aging, out-of-date and need significant repairs,” board President Lara Calvert-York said in a news release. “Upgrading our schools and classrooms will protect the quality of academic instruction in core subjects.”

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Chris DeBenedetti

  • hippycritter

    This issue really has me conflicted. I see how run down our schools are and I see that the Warm Springs development with BART is going to drive a lot more children into the district. We are going to need some new schools but adding the extra taxes on top of the increased assessed valuations makes me grab my wallet as well. I have been somewhat impressed with some of the BOE members but there is a whole phalanx of others that are out there that are opportunists that worry me

  • ewrp

    Govt agencies can never get enough money:

    Water rates increased 17% last year, 7% this year, and most likely 8% next year. Sewer rates increased 5% last year and will probably increase the same this year. BART fares increased 6% this year. The Alameda County Wast Management Authority wants to impose an additional $9.55 fee on all homeowners. Alameda County Supervisors will put the Measure A and Measure B-1 sales tax extensions on the ballot this year. The state raised fees this year to obtain birth, death and marriage certificates. DMV registration fees have increased this year….and the list goes on.

  • Charlie C

    “Govt agencies can never get enough money:”…and it’s a fact that some of our city council representives have gone off to India on a wild goose chase and spent a whole lotta of our tax money! For what, I ask you for what?

  • bbox231

    I think “conflicted” is one of the places politicos like to see us – it’s better than focusing on the more fundamental issues which are very simple IMHO.

    Specifically – are you making the best use of the resources you already have?

    If the answer is “No” – there is no reason to trust that the powers will do anything more than squander additional resource being requested – if, that is, the community votes in your favor.

    The terrible waste we continue to side-step (unwillingness to address performance and tenure obstacles – for example) suggests that fiscal responsibility is subordinate to “other” considerations.

  • Bill Spicer

    Maybe, Only if Seniors can opt out….

  • RescueBlues

    Unlikely, especially if Seniors can opt out. If you’re participating in the voting you should be participating in the paying.

  • Bill Spicer

    This is the answer I recieved from the FUSD. I think it is cruel to make Senior Citizens on fixed incomes to be forced to pay a sizable increase on there house payment. I have lived in Fremont for a very long time and I have paid for school bonds several times.

    Because Seniors are not exempt I will Vote NO and I will be working for the defeat of the, Bond Issue.

    Dear Mr. Spicer,
    No, the facilities bond does not provide for a senior exemption similar to our parcel tax. The proposed bond is a Proposition 39 General Obligation Bond. There is no provision in the law to exempt seniors. Our Board of Education is always sensitive to the needs of seniors and expressed an interest in exempting seniors. Unfortunately, the district does not have legal authority to do so.

    While the bond will increase taxes for Fremont residents and businesses, it is important to understand that our community has strong property values because we have excellent schools. The proposed bond will address some of the most urgent needs to repair school facilities.
    Respectfully, Jim Morris

  • ewrp

    Bill,

    Are you aware of Alameda County Water District raising our water rates for at least 13 straight years? This last increase was 7% and they want to raise rates 8% next year. If you’re interested in joining other residents in speaking out, email me at reformacwd at gmail

  • bbox231

    It is fascinating to read the voter pamphlet Measure “E” arguments in favor and against as well as rebuttals to each.

    Proponents (which include members of your City Council) build their central supporting claim on the simple observation that our local schools are in need of repair. They site a lot of problems (leaky roofs, asbestos remediation, need for new tech, etc) as evidence of their need. They make no statement as to how appropriate the bond amount might be – - –

    In short, the argument in favor reads very much like one of my friend Charlie’s many rants. It is completely devoid of substantiating facts and so full of . . . . . anecdote.

    Opponents, agree that local schools are in need of repair.

    Their point is that for $650million – we could afford to build completely new schools from the ground up (and they site specific examples of districts who built completely new facilities for a small fraction of the total $650M bond value)

    Their point is that for $650M we should be getting much, much, much more than a few roofs patched, and some new alarms and network wiring – and (here is the very important point) UNLIKE THOSE WHO SUPPORT THIS NONESENSE – the opponents are careful to provide tangible evidence of the value they are questioning !!! They site SPECIFIC EXAMPLES of the value that other districts have been able to achieve.

    I encourage you to take 5 minutes to read the 2 page arguments in favor and against in your voter pamphlet. The quality of thought alone is, for me, sufficient reason to seriously question those who support this fiasco.

  • Bill Spicer

    Measure E, Is a Bottomless Money Pit. I am qouting employees of FUSD.
    This is another Bond measure or Parcel tax to REPAIR our old schools.
    This will NOT add any meaningful Capacity, or it will NOT build any new schools. Most of these schools were built in the fifties and sixties and were cheaply built to start with.
    It is time to demo these old schools and build new ones in there place. That would end up being a cost savings for the school and taxpayers and add the much needed capacity.
    PLEASE VOTE NO ON MEASURE E
    This is NOT the answer!

  • Bill Spicer

    I have been paying for school bonds and parcel taxes since 1959, how long have you paid these Bonds and Parcel taxes,in Fremont.
    Do you think it is fair for seniors on a fix income have there house payments raised and lose there homes because of this Bond issue, Please check your facts

  • Harsh Vardhan

    This bond measure costs $20.000 per student (without counting the interest payments). As many people have pointed out, they should be able to build a dozen new schools with 650 million (probably more) instead of fixing allegedly leaking roofs with that money. I am the parent of two children who attend FUSD and even I am not tempted to vote for such a massive bill for “repairs” (esp. since we are already paying the bill for the last set of “repairs” as it is).

  • Fremont Wise

    If the repairs were so urgent, why didn’t the school district use some of the money out of general fund to repair ? The school board has just approved a 5.9 % pay raise, costing $10 million to the district annually.
    Is this why the teachers’ unions are endorsing this bond ?

  • Bill Spicer

    Bottom line of Measure E remains the same.

    $650 million, biggest in Alameda County history

    repayment based on 4% tax base increases PER YEAR, for 38 yrs, but Prop 13 caps existing owners to 2%–must have more development, each year, just to pay debts

    has 60% built in cost overruns ($240,000,000 is $87,000,000 more than the entire 2002 Health and Safety Bond)
    Developers call this a honey pot, that is why they have paid for the Yes on E campaign

    provides no classrooms for high schools, only one classroom in one elementary, no solution for current overcrowding and imminent classroom needs

    expects to spend ~$400,000,000 to add <2500 seats (total) at the five middle schools; replacement campuses would cost less and eliminate cost of future repairs on old facilities

    New bond for more bandaids for 50 yr old schools coming soon.

    Not a good investment risk for Fremont.