San Mateo high school board considers measure

The San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees will decide within the next few weeks whether to pursue a $240 million November bond measure.

Officials hope the bond, expected to cost the homeowner around $16 per $100,000 in assessed value per year more on their property taxes, will help make significant headway on the estimated $350 million in seismic and facility upgrades still needed across the district’s seven schools.

The district has completed nearly $250 million worth ofwork with a mix of funding sources, Superintendent Sam Johnson Jr. said.

Voters in 2000 approved a $137.5 million bond — after two more expensive bond measures failed in the late 1990s. After the bond passed, the district got another $97 million from the state and Certificates of Participation, and an additional $15 million loan to finish the first phase of work at Mills High School.

“It’s not a go until we see dollar amounts for what we’re going to be paying for,” Trustee Marcia Cohn-Lyle said.

The wheels are nonetheless already in motion to get a bond campaign underway. Last week, Johnson presented the board with a preliminary eight-by-ten mailer with comments from all six high school district principals, each encouraging voters to get on board with a bond measure.

The mailer lists priorities at each campus, including air conditioning, larger classrooms, remodeling the old auto shop building at Burlingame High School and a new sound system for the main gym at Hillsdale High School.

Voters would likely approve projects that had a direct impact on the academic program, according to poll results from pollster Brad Senden from the Center for Community Opinion. Revamping the district offices on Delaware and making playing field improvements would then be put on the back burner, Johnson said.

“We’ve done some very visible things on all the campuses,” Johnson said. “But there’s still much more to do.”

The board is scheduled to review the amended project list for the bond and vote on whether to place it on the ballot July 13, Cohn-Lyle said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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