CALEXICO — With the close of the filing period for the November general election last week also comes the announcement that Calexico Unified School District’s $47 million general obligation bond initiative has qualified for the ballot as well, according to district officials.
Known as Measure Q, the $47 million, if passed by the voters, would be used in the continued modernization of the Calexico High School campus, an expansion that will ultimately allow ninth-graders the room to return to the high school and see the construction of several new facilities.
“The district’s ultimate goal is to provide a 21st-century learning environment for students, and to accomplish that we need new classrooms and facilities equipped with the latest technological innovations for programs like science, engineering, mathematics, and technology,” Calexico Unified Superintendent Carlos R. Gonzalez said.
“At Calexico High School, a large multi-purpose room and cafeteria are needed to house ninth through 12th students. Furthermore, new locker rooms and additional new classroom space is needed to move the ninth-grade students back to the main campus,” Gonzalez added.
Among the planned building projects for the high school are a new administration and student services building, a new and extra-large multi-purpose room and cafeteria for students, two new buildings for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) that will include extra-large laboratories and classrooms, a new locker room building, and modernization work on the existing Varner and Godfrey gym locker rooms areas.
The district previously released artistic renderings of new facilities by Sanders Inc. Architecture/Engineering of El Centro.
Measure Q must be passed by a supermajority of Calexico Unified voters, meaning its passage will require 55 percent affirmative votes.
If the bond passes, the ballot measure also creates a bond oversight committee to ensure the funds are properly spent and audited, much like the Measure V $45 million general obligation bond from November 2016 that also went to constructing updated facilities at the high school.
The Calexico Unified school board passed a resolution in June establishing the new ballot measure, which will be paid back through property taxes of those living in the district at estimated annual payments of “less than 6 cents per $100 of assessed home value (averaging $2.5 million annually) until repaid,” according to the district.
In November 2016, more than 73 percent of Calexico voters approved the $45 million Measure V bond initiative that eventually utilized $32.4 million to construct a fully renovated parking lot at Ward Field; a modernized and state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Building and kitchen classroom facilities at the high school; a new 16-classroom building that is near completion; the nearly completed renovation of Circle Drive in front of the high school; and construction of a new 12-classroom building that will start soon.
During the summer, the Measure V Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee presented to the Calexico Unified school board a report in which they confirmed that all Measure V bond proceeds had been used according to bond language. The expenditures underwent an independent audit, the report showed.
“As a result, Measure V still has $12.6 million of authorized but uncashed funds remaining. … If the new bond passes (Measure Q), the remaining $12.6 million from the current Measure V bond will be decertified and never used, as approved by the board via resolution on June 25,” according to information from the school district.
“Measure V has been a tremendous help. These funds, as previously stated, have modernized Ward Field, Circle Drive, and the Culinary Arts building. It has also provided funding for the construction of 28 new classrooms (two new two-story buildings),” Gonzalez stated.
“Our community has expressed a desire to have an expanded campus that meets the educational needs of all ninth- through 12th-grade students. It is for this reason, that the district is exploring other options like a new general obligation bond election in November 2020,” he added.