Asking some South Bay voters to approve a school bond measure is a risky proposition. Bond-related corruption charges for Southwestern College and Sweetwater Union High School District have muddied the waters, but the Chula Vista Elementary School District feels confident enough to take the next step forward at the May 22 board meeting.
District spokesperson Anthony Millican said in a May 18 interview that the bond proposal will cover 31 of the district’s oldest schools located in the western portion of Chula Vista.
The district hopes to use the bond funding mainly for technology and infrastructure. One goal is to make the schools wireless for iPads or similar technological enhancements. “You can’t have 21st-century learning without 21st-century tools,” Millican said.
Some humdrum but necessary projects will include relocation of conduits underground, improving storm drainage, and replacing portable classrooms with permanent structures.
The district also hopes to give Rice Elementary School a makeover, aligning classrooms with the needs of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program.
Millican discussed the fact that the South Bay’s west-side student population has declined while the east side has grown to the point that a new school is being built. Millican said he believes Chula Vista’s bayfront development will boost the west-side student population.
According to an April 13 U-T article, “Nearly 65 percent of Chula Vista voters polled appeared amenable to a bond…” The San Francisco–based financial advisory firm Dale Scott & Co. conducted the survey.
Scott said in a May 18 interview that his company has been the financial advisor to the district since 1998.
In addition to the survey, Scott said the company will collect data, write the ballot language, and prepare the underlying financial assumptions for the bond measure.
A voting district has to be created as well; only the Chula Vistans who will be financing the bond through property taxes and receiving the benefits in their neighborhood schools will be voting.
The cost of Dale Scott's services will be rolled into the bond. Because the consultant's work won't be completed until the November election, the cost is an unknown. An April 13 U-T story said the company won't charge if the bond doesn't pass.