How are Clovis Unified School District schools doing?
Clovis Unified School District is consistently ranked as one of the best school districts in the state and provides an exceptional education for our community’s elementary, middle and high school students. Partnering with the community, our great teachers and quality academic programs help ensure that local students are prepared for success in high school, college and futures careers. Student achievement is a top priority as we move forward with providing a top-quality education and improving our schools.What facilities improvements are needed to support local schools and student learning?
To ensure our students continue to have access to high quality learning environments, our schools need basic repairs and upgrades. Today, 34 of our 50 schools are 25 years old or older, and more than half were built in the 1950s. Recently, we have revisited our Facilities Audit & Master Plan, which identified needed repairs and maintenance to preserve health and safety standards ensuring all students have equal access to high-quality facilities. How does CUSD plan to address these challenges?
In order to complete identified repairs and upgrades to aging schools and keep schools safe, clean and up-to-date a committee of citizens found a need for, and the Clovis Unified School District Governing Board is considering placing, a $408 million bond measure on the March 2020 ballot. What is funded by a measure?
Although a project list has not been finalized, a local measure would build new schools to keep pace with growth, and maintain quality academic instruction in core subjects like math, science, reading and writing by funding necessary school facility improvements, including:
- Fixing leaking roofs, electrical wiring, fire safety doors and smoke alarms at schools
- Repairing and upgrading deteriorating science, engineering and math classrooms to provide 21st- century learning across all Clovis Unified schools
- Update classrooms to increase access to Career Technical Education programs
- Making necessary updates to facilities to continue to provide safe, clean drinking water
- Reducing current and future school overcrowding with additional schools and facilities
- Improving school safety and security by updating security and communication systems
How much does the bond measure cost?
Bonds issued would be repaid annually by local property levies, which are expected to increase from today’s rate by approximately $25 per $100,000 of assessed (not market) value. 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. Currently, CUSD property tax levels are lower than other area schools. This measure could generate $408 million to improve our schools.
How do we know funds from the measure will be spent wisely?
The measure will include strict fiscal accountability provisions and would require 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.
Would every school benefit from a measure?
Every school in the district would benefit from a measure, just as every school has with the passage of previous measures. A complete list of projects would be available to the public, and projects to be included in a 2020 measure .
How will the community be impacted with a bond measure?
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.
I heard we passed a bond measure in the past, why do we need another one?
Almost a decade ago, our District undertook an extensive facilities master planning process, which identified millions in needed repairs and updates at our local schools. In 2012 our community approved Measure A, a bond measure to provide essential upgrades to our schools, with over 65% of support. Measure A has allowed the District to complete the first phase of repairs, including upgrades to aging classrooms and labs, improving technology access and expanding career technical education facilities that equip students for work in the 21st-century. Measure A did not increase taxes over their 2012 rate, but simply extended that tax rate.
It was always known that our facility needs exceeded the funding available through Measure A, and while our District continues to deliver a high-quality education, our schools are aging. Today, 34 of our 50 schools are 25 years old or older, and more than half were built in the 1950s. Recently, we have revisited our Facilities Audit & Master Plan, which identified needed repairs and maintenance to preserve health and safety standards ensuring all students have equal access to high-quality facilities. Earlier this year a committee of citizens spent six months studying anticipated population changes in the cities of Fresno and Clovis, available financial resources and past bond measures, and the facility needs identified in this study. It was the Committee’s findings that another bond measure was needed to preserve the quality of our school facilities into the future.
What kind of track record does CUSD have with funds from past bond measures?
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.
Were 2012 Measure A funds spent properly?
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
I don’t have kids in school, how would this benefit me?
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.
Didn’t California voters passed Proposition 51 in 2016 to provide funding for K-12 and community college facility repairs?
Despite the passage of Proposition 51, a statewide school construction bond measure, our schools still need a dedicated source of local funding to address identified facility needs. Proposition 51 funds are controlled at the state level and are only available when districts can provide matching funds. Since 1986 Clovis Unified has been successful in leveraging $751 million in local funds to complete $1.3 billion dollars in new construction, maintenance, repairs and improvements to our school facilities. Passing a local bond measure is the only way our CUSD schools can become eligible to receive proposition 51 funds. Without this measure, CUSD would not qualify for Prop 51 funds, and these funds would be lost to other communities.
Who will be able to vote on a bond measure?
All registered voters in the Clovis Unified School District would be eligible to vote on a bond measure.
What level of support would this measure need to pass?
In order to pass, a measure would need to be supported by 55% of those who vote.
How can I learn more about the bond measure and our schools?
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.
How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?
To learn more about voting, contact the Fresno County Elections Department at or call 559-600-5956.
I received my ballot and the Measure A language references $60 per $100,000… but Clovis Unified says my current tax rate will change by about $25 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. Why the different numbers?
On the March 3 ballot, the bond measure language only references the maximum projected tax rate specifically for 2020 Measure A bond sales. It is not a cumulative number that takes into consideration all District bonds. In our communication to the community, we speak in terms that reflect the cumulative projected tax rate for all outstanding property tax levies for Clovis Unified facility bonds (this includes 2001, 2004 and 2012 bond measures that will be paid off within a 25-year window of those bonds’ passage). This approach takes into account the scheduled repayment of existing bonds.
The cumulative tax rate is currently $155.12 per $100,000 of assessed, not market, value. If Measure A is passed on March 3, the district will manage the sale and repayment of bonds to maintain an expected cumulative tax rate of about $179 (or about $25 more) per $100,000 of assessed, not market, value. That rate is still less than it was ten years ago.
What do I need to know about Prop 13 on the March 3, 2020, ballot?
Prop 13 is a California State educational facility bond. Like Measure A, it provides funds for school districts around California to complete construction projects. For the vast majority of state funds, in order to qualify for a share of State funds, school districts must prove the availability of matching local dollars (50/50 state and district for new construction, 60/40 state and district for modernization) to qualify for these funds. Unlike Measure A, state facility bonds do not have a direct impact on property taxes. State bonds are repaid out of the state’s general fund budget. Currently, there is a more than $3 billion of school facility projects awaiting funding at the state level.
What’s this I hear about a ballot measure that would fundamentally change the 1978 Prop 13 that controlled property tax rates in California?
What is being proposed for the November ballot (it’s not on the March 3 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.