2022 USD Facilities and Technology Improvement Project

UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOLS SERVE AN ESSENTIAL COMMUNITY NEED. In Union School District, our schools serve not only as the local provider of TK-8 public education in our area but also as community hubs supporting our students inside and outside of the classroom. Our schools serve our students in a multitude of ways, and it is critical to continue that support with safe, modern learning environments and facilities and equip our community’s future leaders with the tools and resources to be successful.

QUALITY SCHOOL FACILITIES ARE ESSENTIAL TO A QUALITY EDUCATION. We are extremely proud of our 8 schools – 6 Elementary Schools (TK-5) and 2 Middle Schools (6-8) serving almost 5,400 students in the classroom each day. Union School District has built a foundation of excellence. We are proud to be recognized as the highest performing district in San Jose. There is a direct relationship between school facilities, modern classrooms with up-to-date technology, outstanding teaching and learning, and successful student outcomes in alignment with Union School District’s mission to provide each student with a foundation of excellence.

OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS HAVE SIGNIFICANT NEEDS. We are committed to safety, excellence, and innovation in every classroom. Nearly 10 years ago our community overwhelmingly supported its local public schools with the passage of measure J. Those funds have positioned the district to also be a leader in 21st Century teaching and learning. But there is still more work to be done.

UnionSchoolDistrict_M1_InforMailer_7web.pdf

CRITICAL PROJECTS IDENTIFIED INCLUDE:

  • FIX deteriorating roofs, plumbing, sewer, and electrical systems, where needed.

  • PROVIDE the classrooms, facilities and technology needed to support high quality instruction in math, science, engineering, and technology.

  • CREATE modern, multi-use classrooms to support hands-on science instruction and learning-by-doing.

  • UPGRADE classrooms and computer systems to keep pace with technology.

  • REMOVE hazardous materials like asbestos and lead pipes & RETROFIT for earthquake safety at our older schools (many were built 50+ years ago).

  • UPGRADE older schools so they meet current health codes, building safety codes, and provide proper access for students with disabilities.

Union School District staff continually works hard to maintain our elementary and middle school facilities, and keep them in good working condition with limited resources. District staff also maintain and support critical technology infrastructure and devices for thousands of students and staff members. However, the reality is that the types of repairs, renovations and maintenance that our current facilities and technology needs go beyond the scope and means of regular school facilities and technology budgets. To fund identified needs, we are exploring all available options, including our own existing budget, state and Federal funding, private grants, and other sources of support. We are also considering asking our community to support a school bond measure on the November 2022 ballot. While NO decisions have been made yet, this study process is a priority for us this school year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is this process all about?

Union School District has been working on a plan to continue rebuilding, upgrading, and modernizing the critical infrastructure at our local public schools to protect our local quality of academic instruction. In Union School District, our schools serve not only as the local provider of TK-8 public education in our area but also as community hubs supporting our students inside and outside of the classroom. Our schools serve our students in a multitude of ways, and it is critical to continue that support with safe, modern learning environments and facilities and equip our community’s future leaders with the tools and resources to be successful.

How will this effort improve instruction?

We are extremely proud of our 8 schools – 6 Elementary Schools (TK-5) and 2 Middle Schools (6-8) serving almost 5,400 students in the classroom each day. Union School District has built a foundation of excellence. We are proud to be recognized as the highest performing district in San Jose. There is a direct relationship between school facilities, modern classrooms with up-to-date technology, outstanding teaching and learning, and successful student outcomes in alignment with Union School District’s mission to provide each student with a foundation of excellence.

How is all this work funded?

District staff work hard to maintain our elementary and middle school facilities, and keep them in good working condition with limited resources. However, the reality is that the types of repairs and renovations that our current needs assessment has identified go beyond the scope and means of regular school maintenance budgets. About $148M in school facility and technology needs have been identified to continue the repair and modernization of our 8 local public schools serving almost 5,400 students each day. To fund identified needs, we are exploring all available options, including our own existing budget, state and Federal funding, private grants, and other sources of support. We are also considering asking our community to support a school bond measure on the November 2022 ballot. While NO decisions have been made yet, this study process is a priority for us this 2022 school year.

What work will be completed?

Critical Projects Identified Include:

  • FIX deteriorating roofs, plumbing, sewer, and electrical systems, where needed.

  • PROVIDE the classrooms, facilities and technology needed to support high quality instruction in math, science, engineering, and technology.

  • CREATE modern, multi-use classrooms to support hands-on science instruction and learning-by-doing.

  • UPGRADE classrooms and computer systems to keep pace with technology.

  • REMOVE hazardous materials like asbestos and lead pipes & RETROFIT for earthquake safety at our older schools (many were built 50+ years ago).

  • UPGRADE older schools so they meet current health codes, building safety codes, and provide proper access for students with disabilities.

  • IMPROVE heading, ventilation, insulation, doors, and windows to improve energy efficiency and save money on utility bills that is better spent in the classroom educating students.

What about ongoing school maintenance, doesn’t the District have a facilities budget?

District staff work hard to maintain our elementary and middle school facilities, and keep them in good working condition with limited resources. However, the reality is that the types of repairs and renovations that our current needs assessment has identified go beyond the scope and means of regular school maintenance budgets.

Will technology upgrades be part of this potential measure?

Yes. Technology upgrades include: Providing the classrooms, facilities and technology needed to support high quality instruction in math, science, engineering, and technology; creating modern, multi-use classrooms to support hands-on science instruction and learning-by-doing, and upgrading classrooms and computer systems to keep pace with technology. Modern classrooms and technology will help ensure that our local TK-8 school students are prepared to function at the highest technological level so they can achieve success as they continue in high school, college, and careers that will drive our future global economy.

What is a Proposition 39 school bond measure and what can it pay for?

A Proposition 39 school bond measure can ONLY be used to fund school facility and technology improvements. A Proposition 39 school bond requires 55%, plus one additional vote, to pass. Proposition 39 school bonds prohibit the use of the funds for operations, district liabilities, judicial settlements, administrator salaries or pensions. It also requires independent financial and performance audits on the use of bond proceeds. No revenue generated by a local bond can be taken away by the State. All revenue stays local to benefit our local schools and students.

I don’t have children or they are grown and gone. Why does this matter to me?

Good schools are the foundation of any healthy, thriving community. Good schools make our neighborhoods desirable places to live and support our property values. Home resale values will benefit as our neighborhood schools are improved. The longer we wait to complete needed upgrades, the more expensive they will become.

What about the Lottery funding? Wasn’t it supposed to fix our schools?

Unfortunately, restricted Lottery funds can only be used for classroom instruction, not technology or facility upgrades. Moreover, the money our school district receives from the Lottery each year comprises less than 1.81% of our annual General Fund Budget. Lottery funds alone cannot fund the extensive upgrades that our schools need.

Which schools would the bond benefit?

All 8 schools – 6 Elementary Schools (TK-5), and 2 Middle Schools – will benefit from any revenue raised from the potential bond measure.

If voters approve the bond, when will the work begin?

If the District moved forward with a bond measure and it is approved, the District will immediately focus on the most critical facilities needs. A schedule for funding projects will be developed so they can be completed on time and within budget.

How much would the bond cost?

No decisions have been made yet. A $148 million bond translates to about $.03 per year for every $100 of assessed valuation. The assessed valuation refers to taxable value, not the market value of your home. The taxable value of your home or business will depend on when you purchased it. If the bond is approved, the typical homeowner in our school district will pay about $207 a year, or $17.25 a month.

Are the local schools at USD really that old?

Many of our schools and school facilities were built more than 50 years ago and don’t meet modern building safety codes. Some buildings have hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead pipes, while others need to be retrofitted for earthquake safety.

How can we be assured that the bond money would be spent properly?

Taxpayer protections are REQUIRED. Every penny from this measure would go to benefit USD schools, be controlled locally, and would not be allowed to be taken away by the state. This measure requires independent citizens' oversight and reports to the community to ensure the funds are spent as promised. None of the money from this measure can be used to increase salaries, benefits, or pensions for administrators, teachers, or any other school employees.

Doesn’t the STATE provide funding for facility upgrades?

Very little. In the past, State funding has been available to support local school upgrades, but especially now, we cannot count on this uncertain source of funding. Moreover, in order to access state funding, school districts MUST generate local matching funds by passing a local school bond measure. Passing a local bond is the ONLY way to qualify for additional state funding if and when it becomes available. There are no other sources of funding for major facility upgrades.

Can’t we just repair the portable classrooms?

There are 36 portable classrooms at our schools that are at least 20 years old and require major repairs to roofs, foundations, and heating/ventilation units. It’s expensive to keep repairing these units. We need this bond to replace our aging portables with modern, permanent classrooms.

What do facility repairs have to do with retaining or attracting our quality teachers?

Up-to-date classrooms, science labs and school facilities will help our schools attract and retain high quality teachers. There is a direct relationship between school facilities, modern classrooms with up-to-date technology, outstanding teaching and learning, and successful student outcomes.

Have there been other USD school bonds? If so, when was the last bond?

We are committed to safety, excellence, and innovation in every classroom. Nearly 10 years ago our community overwhelmingly supported its local public schools with the passage of measure J. Those funds have positioned the district to also be a leader in 21st Century teaching and learning. Measure J was the first step in a multi-year effort to upgrade aging, deteriorated USD TK-8 schools, starting with a first set of most urgent needs. However, even with Measure J school improvement projects, we still have MORE THAN $148 MILLION in unmet facility needs, including: deteriorating roofing, plumbing, and electrical systems, classroom upgrades for improved teaching and learning in science, math, technology, engineering, and arts. Older schools need upgrades to meet the same academic and safety standards as newer schools. Aging portable classrooms need to be replaced with permanent modern classrooms.

How does transitional kindergarten impact our local schools?

All California schools are now required to offer transitional kindergarten classes to even younger children, which means we have hundreds of new students at our schools. We need to create new classrooms and facilities for these young students and to avoid crowding in other grade levels.

Who makes the final decision on a local school bond?

The locally elected Union School District Board of Education is the legal entity that can place a bond on the ballot. Ultimately, Union School District REGISTERED VOTERS will have the final say when they vote for or against the measure on the ballot.

Where can I find more information?

To learn more, please visit our website at: www.unionsd.org or contact Superintendent Carrie Andrews via email: andrewsc@unionsd.org or by phone: (408) 377-8010.