In Natomas, school officials say they need
Natomas Unified, like the community it serves, faces the unique circumstance of having lived under a building freeze since 2008, when the
The levee work, meant to improve safety for the 100,000 people living in Natomas, is likely to result in a flurry of new-home sales as developers complete communities that were left unfinished when the moratorium was put in place, said Mayor Pro Tem
Despite the construction ban, the district of 13,500 students has experienced considerable recent growth as Natomas rebounds from a wave of foreclosures and home vacancies that hit during the recession. Natomas Unified had the region's fastest rate of growth last year with 710 additional students; the district expects another 700 this school year, Evans said.
"This could be an interesting ride when this moratorium lifts," he said.
The cost to Natomas taxpayers is expected to be about
"It's exciting to see a new era in financing and spending money," Payne said.
Natomas Unified officials have recommended issuing a combination of short- and longer-term bonds.
The district will need at least two more elementary schools in the next 10 years to keep up with the growth, Evans said. A new district facilities master plan calls for spending
The district hopes to use developer fees, charter school grant funds and state matching funds -- assuming a statewide facilities bond eventually passes -- to come up with the
The new bond money will allow the district to start upgrading and repairing campuses, acquiring new schools and partnering with the city of
Natomas officials want to redesign some classrooms to make them more like a 21st-century work environment.
"A 13-year-old would be working in classrooms that would look like you would find in a robotics company today," Evans said.
Local school district officials had hoped state leaders would put a multibillion-dollar school bond on the November ballot, but a legislative proposal appears all but dead this year after facing opposition from Gov.
Funds from the last state school bond -- approved by voters in 2006 -- are nearly gone. Districts say that has left them unable to build new facilities and forced them to dig into general funds to repair aging facilities.
Measure J money would still be necessary if the state approves a bond in the future, Ashby said. The state requires school districts provide matching funds for facilities projects if state money is used. Without a statewide bond, the district will "take care of the most important and most significant needs right off the bat," she said.
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