News Column

Sonoma County school bonds headed toward approval

June 4, 2014

By Kerry Benefield, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.



June 04--All five Sonoma County school districts' multimillion-dollar bond measures were getting 62 percent or more of the vote in early returns Tuesday night.

To be approved, general obligation bonds must get 55 percent of the vote.

A total of $216 million in campus construction, maintenance, technology, and heating-and-cooling upgrades were on the ballot Tuesday, with voters in five school districts being asked to support mostly brick-and-mortar projects.

General obligation bonds are limited to capital projects and cannot be used to pay salaries.

The Petaluma City Schools High School district had a $68 million proposal on the ballot, while the city's elementary district had a $21 million package. With early mail-in votes in, as well as one out of 57 precincts reporting, the high school proposal was getting 63.3 percent of the vote. In the elementary district, with early ballots recorded, the measure was getting 66.6 percent of the vote.

The Cotati-Rohnert Park School District's$80 million proposal was netting 63.9 percent of the vote with mail-in votes and six of 23 precincts counted.

In Rincon Valley, the district's $35 million package was netting 66.1 percent approval with mail-in ballots and 11 of 39 precincts reporting.

Bellevue School District's$12 million package was ahead with 62.7 percent of mail-in voters and seven of 25 precinct voters saying yes.

"The district wants to provide quality education and we need support for our facilities, and this is the way that we are able to get the job done," said Bellevue Superintendent Alicia Henderson. "I'm cautiously optimistic and I'm very grateful to the community for their support."

Sonoma County school districts have been successful in winning voter approval for both general obligation bonds and parcel taxes in recent years.

Since 2008, Sonoma County voters have approved more than $287 million in school facilities bonds for 17 school districts.

Local bond revenues can be used to secure matching state funds.

(Staff Writer Kerry Benefield writes an education blog at extracredit.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. She can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@press democrat.com or on Twitter @benefield.)

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(c)2014 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)

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Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)


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