Tuesday, November 6, 2018, is election day. Hemet Unified School District has placed Measure X on the ballot to improve schools by using the funds to enhance safety and security at its schools, upgrade classrooms to support 21st century learning, repair deteriorating plumbing, roofs, electrical systems, and much more.
The District’s goal is to become the Premier Choice School District, in order to make this a reality, it needs proper facilities to ensure the safety, future-learning, and that it has facilities to support the needs of students’ continued success. The fact is that many HUSD schools were built 50 years ago and do not support the skills our students need to be successful in their future careers.
“The longer we wait the more expensive our needs will be. We are taking the most prudent and affordable path to ensure that we have 21st century schools for our students,” said HUSD Chief Business Officer, Vince Christakos.
Hemet Unified has worked to structure Measure X to have the least impact for its taxpayers. The tax rate for property owners will remain the same as their 2016-17 rate. Therefore, as a prior bond measure falls off the taxes, the new measure will take its place.
The District sets aside a portion of its budget for deferred maintenance and to upgrade its facilities. In fact, within the past year, the district has completed various roofing projects, repaired air conditioning units, and performed routine preventative maintenance to maintain its facilities. Unfortunately, within the next 10 years the District will have 20 schools that are eligible for modernization. While the District has used its deferred maintenance money to repair its schools, the budget does not cover its growing need.
During the Great Recession of 2008-2012 Hemet USD, as well as other school districts in California, lost twenty percent (20%) of their general funds, including deferred maintenance. In spite of these difficulties, the District demonstrated good, fiscal responsibility by taking advantage of Federally subsidized loans with past bond funding. During this time, it was able to utilize the Federal Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCB) program in which the District paid zero percent interest for five years. This allowed the school district to complete the modernization of Hemet High School and Acacia Middle School at a lower cost. Hemet School District has also utilized state matching funds, supplemental dollars, and its deferred maintenance monies to support upgrades and repairs of its facilities in the past.
“The Committee continues to be impressed with the District staff’s diligence and attention to detail that has resulted in the renovations of Acacia Middle School under budget and without disruption to the students or staff during the construction process,” wrote Dale Brusewitz, Chair for Measure U Independent Citizens Oversight Committee.
If Measure X passes, the District will look to begin working on its project list right away. The timing of the projects will be based on priority as well as the use of supplemental and matching funds it can receive from the State.