Voters yesterday approved Measure K school bonds by a an overwhelming 71.34 percent yes vote, providing for $1.2 billion, and the possibility of hundreds of millions of dollars of state matching funds, to upgrade classrooms and construct new school buildings
“Our community has once again come to our aid during our time of need,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools for the Long Beach Unified School District. “Our thanks go to our parents, teachers, administrators, support staff and many business and community supporters who made this victory possible for our children.”
With all precincts counted, Measure K garnered 97,738 yes votes and 39,270 no votes.
Proceeds from the bond, with matching funds from the state, will be used to retrofit schools for earthquake safety and handicap accessibility. Funds also will go toward: repairing restrooms, plumbing, roofs and fire safety systems; removing lead paint and asbestos; upgrading vocational classrooms and technology; improving energy efficiency; expanding supervised after-school programs; and reducing overcrowding through new construction and renovation. The school district plans to create smaller high schools that provide more individualized attention to students.
Most local schools were built before 1970, and many students are learning in portable classrooms. Measure K will address these challenges.
The passage of Measure K also culminates months of planning, with ample input from the community.
With the input of hundreds of community members, students, teachers and other district staff, the school district developed a Facility Master Plan that includes recommended projects. The plan was developed after 200 meetings involving 14 committees and thousands of community surveys.
The entire Facility Master Plan is available at www.lbschools.net, as is the Board of Education’s formal resolution calling for the election. The resolution contains further details on high priority projects, and it calls for allocating bond proceeds so that each of the communities served by the school district – including Long Beach, Signal Hill, Lakewood and Catalina Island – obtains its fair share.