Frequently Asked Questions
What is Measure T?
Measure T is a $149 million general obligation bond passed on the November 7, 2006 ballot, providing funding for classroom and school facility improvements throughout the Hemet Unified School District. Measure T includes $79 Million for new construction and $70 Million for improvements to older school facilities.
The $79 Million proposed for new projects includes Phase 2 of Tahquitz High School and the new Rancho Viejo Middle School, both located near Cawston and Fruitvale Avenues in West Hemet, and 4 additional Elementary Schools including Curry Ranch in East Hemet and Page Ranch in West Hemet. With the passage of Measure T, the district will qualify for an additional $80 Million in State matching funds for these new construction projects.
The $70 Million proposed for renovations and upgrades will include a $33 Million upgrade of Hemet High that will replace existing portable classrooms with a new academic building, will provide new science labs, and a new Performing Arts Center. Older schools will receive upgrades to classrooms to bring them up to current educational standards. All schools throughout the district will receive funds to address local needs in technology, playground safety, and campus security.
Why is a school improvement measure needed?
Over 1/3 of district classrooms and school facilities are over 40 years old. Many do not meet 21st century education and technology standards, and require health, safety, and handicap accessibility improvements.
Various schools need to be renovated and expanded to accommodate a growing student population. Since 2002, enrollment in HUSD has increased by over 5000 students to 23,126. Student enrollment is expected to continue increasing by 40% over the next five years, creating an overcapacity of 2000 students as soon as next year.
More classrooms and new schools must be built to relieve student overcrowding and maintain small class sizes.
Improved schools will support the district’s positive academic trend, give our children the best chance for success, and maintain the quality of our community.
How can I be sure that Measure T funds will be spent on improving our school facilities?
As required by law, an independent citizens’ oversight committee will be established to ensure that bond funds are properly spent.
Also by law, there must be annual audits and no bond money can be used for administrative salaries.
HUSD has an excellent track record as stewards of the public’s funds. The district’s Measure E Citizens’ Oversight Committee constantly confirmed that bond funds were spent wisely and as specified.
Standard & Poores recognized HUSD’s sound financial management with an upgraded “A” bond rating.
What are developers doing to pay their share?
The District is currently requiring developers to pay the maximum fees allowed by law ($4.05/ sq. ft.) to help pay for the costs of new classrooms and schools. Statutory developer fees alone, however, barely cover 30% of new school construction and are insufficient to pay for all of the district’s facility needs.
What about using State funds?
With the passage of Measure T, the District will become eligible to receive approximately $80 million in State matching funds. The District has already applied to the State for this funding, however, under current law, districts must provide local matching funds in order to receive any State school bond funds. By law, lottery funds cannot be used for construction or rehabilitation projects.
How was the project list for Measure T determined?
HUSD’s Facilities Master Plan outlines a $389 Million school construction and modernization program funded by a combination of local bond funds, State matching funds and developer fees; each source funding roughly a third of the plan. Like a three-legged stool, each funding source plays a critical role in financing the entire school facilities program.
What will passage of Measure T mean for our students and the community?
Existing classrooms, many of which are between 40 to 78 years old, will be repaired and upgraded to 21st century health, safety, education, and technology standards. Restrooms will be renovated, computer systems upgraded, electrical systems replaced and health and safety improvements made.
New classrooms, restrooms, and schools will be constructed to alleviate overcrowding. Every school in the District will benefit from Measure T.
In addition to improving our neighborhood schools, Measure T will help to improve and maintain property values throughout the District.
What is a general obligation bond?
Similar to a home loan, general obligation ("G.O.") bonds generate funds for community improvement projects, such as the renovation of existing classrooms and school facilities and the construction of new schools and classrooms. Similar to a home loan, Measure T will be repaid over 25 years.
What will Measure T cost?
Residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial property owners located in the District will pay an average of $42.00 per year per $100,000 of assessed valuation. Assessed valuations appear on property tax statements and are typically lower than market values. The average increase in cost to property owners will amount to a few dollars per month.
Didn't the District already pass a bond measure?
In 2002, 62.8% of voters in the District approved Measure E, a $60 million general obligation bond. The district leveraged those funds to acquire another $112 Million in additional funding for a total of $172 Million. Funds from Measure E were used to construct Cawston, Harmony, McSweeny, and Jacob Wiens Elementary schools, Diamond Valley Middle School, and Phase I of Tahquitz High School, as well as for critical basic improvements at all schools including electrical, plumbing, and heating upgrades, American Disability Act (ADA) compliance improvements, roofing and flooring repairs, asbestos removal, etc. Necessary improvements and repairs are still required at each school and the construction of additional classrooms and schools are essential to reduce overcrowding.