$95 million bond for Paso Robles schools on November ballot - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

$95 million bond for Paso Robles schools on November ballot

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Paso Robles Unified School District says its schools are in major need of repairs and improvements. The district plans to pay for upgrades using a $95 million bond measure that will need to be approved by voters.

"The implementation of the plan is crucial in providing the basic necessities that our community expects and deserve," said Paso Robles Unified School District Superintendent Chris Williams.

From leaking roofs to aging classrooms, the focus of the bond measure is on aging schools throughout the district, mostly elementary and middle schools.

"Some of the schools being 80 years old, some that are in the 70- to 80-year range," said Williams.

Those schools have deteriorating roofs, plumbing problems and out-of-date classrooms, Williams said.

More importantly, the bond money would be used to ensure the students are safe in case of a massive earthquake.

"Some of those schools that are a little older, we would like to put more emphasis on those in the infrastructure in case there are any catastrophic issues that could happen," said Williams.

Another area of emphasis is providing the best space for students to learn. That means a majority of the district's older portable classrooms will be swapped out.

"We are looking to replace those with classrooms on campus so that we can provide a healthy environment for every student," said Williams.

Building new classrooms would eat up a large portion of the bonds but the district says those classrooms are a major priority in keeping up with 21st-century learning practices.

"Ultimately, we want to provide a world-class education and become a district of excellence," said Williams.  

The bonds come in three-year increments, around $20 million per cycle, for up to nine years. Although plans on how to improve the schools can be tweaked, there is a strict limitation on how the money can be used.

"Any funds that come through would have to be dedicated for the facilities and cannot be used for administrator or teacher salary," said Williams.  

The school district has a breakdown of priority upgrades and the costs involved at www.pasoschools.org/fmp.

Should the bond pass in November, taxpayers can expect to pay about $49 per $100,000 of property value.

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