Measure J is defeated

School district needs other funding for improvements
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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The construction of a new high school and elementary school may be delayed. As of press time Wednesday, 9,415 voters were against Measure J and 7,443 voters wanted the measure. Measure J is a $163- million school bond placed on the Nov. 2 ballot by the Western Placer Unified School District on June 30. The bond would have provided revenue for school modernizations and improvements, as well as the construction of a new high school and elementary school, according to previous News Messenger reports. A property tax of $60 for every $100,000 of assessed value would have generated revenue for the bond. If Measure J was approved by voters, Western Placer Unified School District’s Deputy Superintendent Mary Boyle said, the bond would “even the playing field” for students at different schools in the district. “It will ensure students have quality facilities, regardless of where they live,” Boyle said before Tuesday’s election. If the bond failed to pass, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Maintenance Cathy Allen said Tuesday, the district “would have to apply for financial hardship” with the state. “It will be a challenge to update facilities for our kids,” Allen said. Financial hardship is when a district “gives the state all of its facilities funding and they give you funding to build a school,” said district Superintendent Scott Leaman. Financial hardship funds would be prioritized to build a new elementary school, according to Leaman. “The other elementary schools are pretty much at capacity,” Leaman said. “We are sending students from Lincoln Crossing to a variety of school sites.” Also affected with Measure J’s defeat are improvements to older schools in the district, such as Glen Edwards Middle School, according to Allen. Those improvements would include a gymnasium and a science and technology facility, which Allen said “would be to ensure the district could offer programs currently offered at Twelve Bridges Middle School but not at Glen Edwards Middle School.” If Measure J passed, Leaman said the district would first contact architects to develop site plans for both Twelve Bridges High School Phase One and the next elementary school. Since the measure didn’t pass, Leaman said the district will look at “alternate funding” for the new schools and improvements to existing schools, which would include applying for financial hardship. Brenda Sais, who voted in Lincoln Hills, said she thought Measure J was Lincoln’s most important item on the ballot, when asked by The News Messenger. “It’s for the kids and for the schools,” Sais said. “The kids are our future.” Lisa Stafford voted in downtown Lincoln, and also said Measure J “was the most important Lincoln item” on the ballot. “My main issue is we need all the money we can get and I’m not confident in how the district will spend it,” Stafford said.