Crumbling schools in Burlingame to ask voters for funds

With some buildings facing deteriorating conditions, Burlingame schools — some built as long ago as the Woodrow Wilson administration — will seek the approval of a $48.3 million bond measure in November.

The Burlingame School District board unanimously approved putting the bond measure on the November ballot at a meeting Tuesday based on a report by Burlingame-based Dreiling Terrones Bartos Architecture.

In a draft report, the firm said a total of $81 million worth of building repairs and improvements will be needed to repair the district’s schools, but just more than half that figure was deemed a high priority.

According to the report, Burlingame Intermediate School had the biggest need for renovations, with $19 million worth of potential projects, including $1.6 million toward the gym and locker rooms and $1.3 million toward roofing expenses. The district’s other five schools mostly require bathroom and roofing repairs, along with safety upgrades. Among the five elementary schools, the oldest are McKinley, Roosevelt and Washington, which were built in the 1910s.

“There are some bathrooms that are 1950s vintage,” said Richard Terrones of the architectural firm. “These facilities are tired, but it doesn’t mean we throw them away.”

Annette DeMaria, a McKinley Elementary School teacher who heads the teachers association, said leaks get into the carpeting and sometimes damage students’ belongings.

“It’s a beautiful building, but because it’s old, it’s got its creaks,” she said. “It’s not cosmetic repair that they need. It’s more structural.”

The district board approved the bond measure after reviewing an April survey of 400 people, in which 66 percent of likely voters said they would support a hypothetical $42 million bond measure. That figure dipped to 58 percent after respondents were informed of a $30 raise in taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value on their houses.

The 25-year bond requires 55 percent of the vote for approval. In addition, the district is obligated to compile a specific list for voters of what projects would receive funds.

Superintendent Sonny Da Marto said he does not know of any organized group opposed to the bond, but he said it is possible opposition will form.

“There’s always opposition,” he said. “I think there is a group out there that opposes all tax collection. But I’m not aware of any specific group that will oppose this one.”

bfoley@examiner.com

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