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Parent, Teacher, Business Coalition Urges Support for San Diego “Safety & Repair Bond”

Polling shows broad public support for a bond

Charter Schools also join in Support


A coalition of parents, teachers and business leaders is urging the San Diego Unified School District board to proceed with a proposed $3.5 billion “Safety & Repair Bond” and place the measure on the November 2018 ballot.

The Board of San Diego Unified is scheduled to hold a public discussion on a new bond measure at its regularly scheduled meeting this coming Tuesday, June 26, that would provide students with $3.5 billion in additional funding, aimed at school safety improvements, building repairs and technology improvements. Local Charter Schools are also guaranteed their pro rata share,as expressed as a percentage of District students who attend Charters.

The measure would need to achieve support from 55 percent of the public to pass in November. The Coalition, called “Safety and Learning in Our Schools, is preparing to wage a campaign urging voters to support the Measure should the District proceed with placing it on the ballot.

They cited the need to repair aging classrooms, eliminate lead from drinking water and do more to protect schools from campus intruders as reasons to support the measure.

A professional poll commissioned by the coalition shows 67 percent of San Diego voters would favor a bond to boost investment in neighborhood schools.

“The average age of San Diego schools is close to 50 years old, and we have seen repeated stories about lead in the drinking water and an overall lack of modern security measures,” said Coalition Chairman Andy Berg. “We cannot expect our children to be ready for their future careers when they are learning in classrooms that predate the internet.”

“Our survey shows there is overwhelming support for a new bond measure in San Diego, well above the level needed for passage in the fall,” Berg said. He noted San Diego voters have a long history of supporting public school investment over the past 20 years.

Some 67 percent of all voters said they would support the new bond measure - 12 points more than required to pass -- according to a survey conducted by FM3 from May 20-24 based on interviews with 600 likely voters. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percent. No taxpayer dollars or public funds were used to conduct the poll.

Berg said the Safety and Learning for Our Schools organization was created in response to what they believe is an urgent need for action to improve the condition of local schools. In addition to the issue of lead in the water, he cited the need for asbestos removal from aging buildings, and the need to improve campus security following incidents like the one in Parkland, Florida. “Our polling shows clearly people understand urgency of addressing these issues now, and that is why I am confident we will be able to bring the city together to do what must be done for students,” Berg said.

Trustee Richard Barrera, who first mentioned a possible revenue measure last year in his State of the District speech, thanked the coalition for their work on the bond measure. He added that he looked forward to a full discussion of the issue at the Board meeting on Tuesday and is confident the Board will rally behind anything that improves student safety and outcomes.

Miles Durfee of the California Charter Schools Association Advocates said, "San Diego stands out for its culture of collaboration that we've built between district-managed and charter public schools around school facilities bonds. It's a relationship that truly benefits the students we all serve. This measure represents the next step in that partnership. That is why I am proud to support the bond measure and look forward to testifying in support of it at the board meeting on Tuesday."