Q: What is Measure K?
A: Measure K is a ballot initiative, approved by 71 percent of voters in November 2008, which makes available $1.2 billion from property taxes to build, renovate and improve schools in the Long Beach Unified School District. The funds come from issuance of a series of bonds to occur four to six times in about ten years.
Q: How can the district afford to do school repairs and construction with state budget cuts?
A: Due to the state’s ongoing budget crisis, LBUSD has been forced to cut more than $170 million in its operating budget over the past three years and will need to slash as much as $100 million or more of expenditures over the next two years. These cuts affect the general operations of the school district, and are separate from Measure K funds, which by law, are specifically designated for school repair and construction. Measure K funds cannot be used for operations (including administrator and teacher salaries).
Q: What will Measure K funds be used for?
A: More than 80 percent of the school district’s permanent buildings were built prior to 1970. Most of our aging schools need major work to meet new building standards and to continue serving student needs in the 21st Century. Examples of work needed include:
• Retrofitting schools to meet new earthquake safety standards;
• Meeting federal handicap accessibility requirements;
• Removing lead paint and asbestos;
• Upgrading and expanding instructional technology, including computer hardware and network infrastructure;
• Building smaller high school learning communities;
• Upgrading science labs, classrooms, libraries, restrooms, plumbing and roofs;
• Improving energy and water efficiency.
Q: What expenses are covered by Measure K?
A: The expenses covered by Measure K are set by law and are strictly limited to school repairs and construction. Included are architectural/engineering/planning costs, furniture, equipment, program/project management and staff training. The bond measure also makes available funds to reduce or retire outstanding leases and debt incurred to provide capital facilities. For example, Measure K has allowed the district to reduce long-term costs by paying off a $51 million debt incurred to provide portable classrooms, purchased in the 1990's when LBUSD implemented its class-size reduction program.
Q: Who decided which schools will be built or renovated and when?
A: The priority list of projects was developed through a comprehensive process of evaluating a combination of key factors, including the district's Strategic Plan, the Technology Master Plan and the Facility Master Plan. These plans, created over a period of years, had extensive community and school site input. The Measure K current project list was determined by weighing a combination of the following criteria: regulatory and building code compliance, technology needs, educational program enhancements, enrollment shifts, school site capacity and utilization, condition of existing structures, board recommendations and equity. Priorities and schedules are subject to changes based on site-specific evaluations.
Q: Does the state provide funding for school repairs and construction?
A: For school districts that meet requirements, the state has a limited pot of construction/repair funds, available in the form of matching funds. LBUSD is eligible for approximately $286 million in state matching funds, which are contingent upon our ability to contribute local funds.
Q: Will Measure K bring all our schools up to modern standards and allow us to meet changing student needs?
A: Measure K provides $1.2 billion in funding. To bring all schools up to modern standards, the Facility Master Plan identified 100 project types, with a total cost of up to $6.5 billion over 25 years (in 2007 dollars). Measure K funds will be used to address the most critical needs in the plan, but falls short of addressing all the identified projects required. With state funds dwindling, additional facilities building funds are unlikely to become available from outside sources. Therefore, the district is exploring other ways to raise funds to address the balance of needs in the Facility Master Plan.