Q: What facilities improvements are needed to support local schools and student learning?
A: To ensure our students continue to have access to high quality learning environments, our schools need basic repairs and upgrades. Today, more than half of our schools are 25 years or older, with the majority of those built 40 or more years ago. Our Facilities Audit & Master Plan has identified needed repairs and maintenance to meet health and safety standards and ensure all students have equal access to high-quality facilities.
Q: How does CUSD plan to address these facility challenges?
A: In order to keep up with enrollment growth, complete identified health upgrades, keep schools safe, and facilities up-to-date, a committee of citizens found a need for, and the Clovis Unified School District Governing Board is placing, a $335 million bond measure on the November 2020 ballot. Bond funds are the primary way that we can keep schools up-to-date and well-maintained, and build and modernize facilities.
Q: What is funded by a measure?
A: Health and safety projects at every school are on the project list, along with a new high school and intermediate school, and modernization projects at 10 sites to address growth, and/or old or broken and outdated facilities. Also included on the project list are energy efficiency updates and repairs to the energy management systems at multiple schools. You can see a complete project list on our website at cusd.com.
Q: How much does the bond measure cost?
A: Bonds issued would be repaid annually by local property levies, which are not expected to increase from today’s rate. Currently, CUSD property tax levels are lower than they have been for decades and are lower than other area schools. This measure could generate $335 million to improve our schools. Assessed value is determined by the County Assessor and is often much closer to the original price of the home than to today’s market value.
Q: Why aren't developer fees paying for these projects?
A: Developer fees help finance some of the district's new building projects, but they cannot be used for maintenance or modernization to existing facilities. Most recently, the new Janet Young Elementary School was built using developer fees. However, Clovis Unified budgets around $12 million in developer fees each year. In order to fund the currently needed new intermediate school and new high school, it would take about 23 years saving up developer fees (and completing no other construction projects) to cover the cost of these schools on the Measure A project list. Without these new schools, our already growing enrollment would force widespread boundary changes.
Q: What’s on the Ballot? Is there a new tax?
A: We’ve heard that the language on your November ballot can be confusing, even though it meets the requirements of recent legislation (AB195). If Clovis Unified says the current tax rate will stay the same, we've been asked why does the ballot language refer to a new tax?
Put simply, Measure A doesn’t raise the current tax rate, it extends the rate to maintain our community’s existing investment in their schools. If passed, Measure A would allow for the sale of future bonds, which would replace bonds that are soon to be paid off. In the past, our community has told us that a consistent tax rate is important to them. In response Clovis Unified has structured its bond sales and repayments to maintain, but not raise, your tax rate.
Here’s what the ballot language says:
With no estimated increase to current tax rates, all funds staying local, and no money for administrators’ salaries, shall Clovis Unified School District’s measure to maintain neighborhood schools, upgrade security/ health measures and avoid overcrowding by: building, modernizing, and repairing school and career/ vocational facilities be adopted, authorizing $335 million in bonds at legal interest rates, levying 6¢ per $100 assessed value, raising $27.3 million annually to repay bonds through maturity, with required independent audits and citizens’ oversight?
Q: How do we know funds from the measure will be spent wisely?
A: Measure A generates local dollars for local projects, and are monitored by an independent citizen oversight and annual third-party audits. No funds could be used for employees’ salaries or taken away by the state. Clovis Unified has a strong fiscal track record, and a history of positive reviews and audits by Citizen Oversight Committees who closely watch bond spending.
Q: Would every school benefit from a measure?
A: Every school in the district would benefit from a measure, just as every school has with the passage of previous measures.
Q: How will the community be impacted with a bond measure?
A: The passage of a bond measure will mean improved school facilities at all school locations as well as the potential to create jobs in the region to help the local economy. Strong local schools have been proven to lead to stronger property values and increasing our community’s desirability to potential residents and employers. Facilities built in Clovis Unified and funded from previous bond measures have been credited by local tourism organizations with boosting the local economy by increasing the number of events and visitors to our community.
Q: I heard we passed a bond measure in the past, why do we need another one?
A: We are out of money and out of space in our current facility program. Out of space in many high growth areas where schools are at or over capacity, and out of money because prior bond funds have all been spent to keep our schools in the condition they are in today.
Health and safety updates are needed to respond to needs of 2020, like hospital grade ventilation systems at all schools and one-touch lockdown equipment to boost the security of our campuses. Measure A isn’t expected to increase the existing tax rate, but it would build new schools and buildings to keep up with current and future growth, help avoid widespread boundary changes, add safety and health features to all campuses, and keep schools maintained and up-to-date like they are today.
Q: Were 2012 Measure A funds spent properly?
A: A Citizens Oversight Committee keeps the public informed about how Measure A funds are used and confirmed that Measure A funds were spent properly through annual reports to the Clovis Unified Governing Board and the public. You can more information from the committee at https://www.cusd.com/2012MeasureABond.aspx
Q: What kind of track record does CUSD have with funds from past bond measures?
A: Clovis Unified has been a careful steward of past bond dollars as exemplified by the following:
- Voters approved a $298 million bond measure in June 2012. Measure A included $330 million worth of projects to be funded out of bond funds, developer fees, state bond funding, and available carryover from the 2004 Bond Measure.
- All projects from the 2012 measure were completed in 2018 including a solar production system that included solar parking lot and play area shade structures that were constructed on 19 school sites around the district. This project is saving the district more than $2.5 million per year in operational costs.
- In 2012, Measure A did not increase the tax rate over its existing 2012 rate. Today, Clovis Unified’s tax rate is lower than other school districts in the area.
- Since 1986 CUSD has been able to leverage $751.2 million in local bond funds to complete $1.3 billion in new construction, repairs, maintenance and improvements to our schools.
- Additionally, the District’s careful financial management is evident in a credit rating among the highest of any California public school district and 21 consecutive Meritorious Budget Awards for transparency in budgeting.
Q: I don’t have kids in school, how would this benefit me?
A: We know our local schools are among the best in California, making our community a desirable place to live. This helps keep our property values high and our neighborhoods strong. Good quality schools reflect on an entire community.
Q: Who will be able to vote on a bond measure?
A: All registered voters in the Clovis Unified School District would be eligible to vote on a bond measure.
Q: What level of support would this measure need to pass?
A: In order to pass, a measure would need to be supported by 55% of those who vote.
Q: How can I learn more about the bond measure and our schools?
A: The District values questions, comments and feedback from parents and community members. To learn more about the District’s facility needs, please contact Mr. Denver Stairs at 559-327-9260 or online at cusd.com.
Q: How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?
A: To learn more about voting, contact the Fresno County Elections Department at or call 559-600-5956.
Q: What’s this I hear about a ballot measure that would fundamentally change the 1978 Prop 13 that controlled property tax rates in California?
A: What is on the November ballot does not have an impact on residential property taxes. Instead, the Schools and Communities First Initiative, as it is being called, would modify the manner in which assessed value of commercial and industrial property (not residential) is determined.