SLO school district to consider feasibility of bond measure



The San Luis Coastal Unified School District is considering putting a general obligation bond on the November 2020 ballot.

At a San Luis Coastal school board meeting on Feb. 18, board members voted unanimously to conduct a community survey on the feasibility of passing a general obligation bond.

Ryan Pinkerton, assistant superintendent of business and support services, said at the meeting that the district has a long list of safety improvement and facility modernization projects at various school sites that go beyond normal deferred maintenance funding.

"There are big ticket items we definitely need to take care of," Pinkerton said.

That includes the 10 schools that need new fire alarms, which Pinkerton said cost more than $250,000 apiece.

The new bond would be similar to Measure D, a $177 million bond that was approved by 72 percent of voters in November 2014. Although some board members said it might be too soon after Measure D to get another general obligation bond passed, Pinkerton said presidential elections typically host a larger voter turnout, which trends in favor of school bonds.

Board members Mark Buchman and Walt Millar said shared concerns that the primary elections in the beginning of March and the confusion over Proposition 13, a state ballot measure that would funnel funding to schools in need, could lead to negative responses in the local survey.

But board member Chris Unger said the district has about $500 million worth of unfunded projects that need to be taken care of, and another general obligation bond could help relieve some of that load.

"I think it's going to be important to look at what the level of community support for a bond would be," Unger said. "We can't know unless we do this."

The survey, which will cost the district $12,500, will be conducted by Isom Advisors likely sometime in March. Δ

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