District seeks bond money for school improvements

Five schools in Belmont would get new classrooms, repairs to leaky roofs and other improvements if voters approve two bond measures on the November ballot totaling $70 million.

Measure N would give the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District $35 million to spend on facilities at four Belmont elementary schools — Nesbit, Fox, Central and Cipriani. Measure I, a companion measure, would generate $25 million for Ralston Middle School. Both need a 55 percent majority vote to pass.

The facilities money is needed at all five schools to make repairs to decades-old buildings, including updating fire alarms, repairing plumbing and heating systems, and removing asbestos and lead paint, officials said.

Also, the 3,100-student district needs to plan for enrollment growth by expanding its campuses, school board President Cathy Wright said. She said Ralston has 900 students this year, up from 800 last year.

“We need to create more classroom space, and you need money to do that,” Wright said.

The initiative language prohibits the use of the bond money for operating budgets or employee salaries. The bonds will give the district a local source of capital funds that the state can’t take away, Wright said.

Measure I would cost property owners about $11 per $100,000 of assessed value annually, and Measure N will cost about $27 per $100,000, according to the school district.

Measure N only impacts Belmont schools, so voters in Redwood Shores would not be affected. The bond for the middle school is districtwide because students from both Redwood Shores and Belmont schools feed into it, Wright said.

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

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