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Community

Facilities at Wiseburn Schools: Frequently Asked Questions in 2018

Together with Da Vinci Schools, Wiseburn has been able to develop an unparalleled level of 21st century K-12 education. We are blessed with some of the best schools in both the state and nation, and our dream of having our own Wiseburn High School is now a reality! The amazing new campus will serve as a hub of small learning communities focused on academic excellence, college and career readiness, performing arts, and recreational facilities for school and community use. If you haven’t already – or want to again – please come by and check it out!

 

The District could not have achieved any of these successes without the Wiseburn community. Your support has made our schools what they are – and we know our schools make our community better too! By combining your school bond investments with Da Vinci’s state matching funds, and obtaining millions in donations, we now have a world class facility that was only a vision a decade ago. Beyond Wiseburn High School, we have also completely rebuilt our middle and elementary schools and become a unified (K-12) district.

 

On a parallel course with our school construction, in the past 10 years, Wiseburn has reinvented itself academically. During this time, our schools have closed the achievement gap between Wiseburn and the other South Bay districts, and now we even compare favorably with the districts to the west of us in the beach cities. And we are enormously proud of our partnership with Da Vinci Schools, some of the most innovative and successful schools in the country.

 

Looking into the next decade, of course we want to maintain all these achievements and all of our elementary, middle and high schools – and as always in Wiseburn, we want to do even more too!

 

What more does the District want to do?

There are still some unfinished projects that could further enhance our outstanding schools and programs for all K-12 students and the community – and there will always be the work required to keep our schools as pristine as they are. So, the Board is seeking community feedback about a number of additional projects and a new bond.

 

What would another General Obligation (GO) bond do for Wiseburn schools?

Potential projects include:

  • Keeping local elementary, middle, and high schools well maintained.
  • Maintaining existing K-12 science, technology, engineering, arts, and math classrooms and labs, and upgrading them for more innovative learning programs.
  • Providing 21st Century learning technology.
  • Updating classrooms and facilities to support college level education, additional workforce training programs and career technical education to prepare students for both college and careers.
  • Installing solar panels to reduce energy expenses and put more money back into the classroom.
  • Constructing new classrooms to accommodate more families in our before and after school programs and preschool.

The District is currently seeking input about all the potential additional improvements, and the Wiseburn Board will refine priorities based on community input, everyone’s views and opinions in order to address community needs.

 

What are GO bonds again?

GO bonds have funded a significant portion of school construction projects in Wiseburn (e.g., the High School) and throughout the state, and like the District and Da Vinci have done, can help communities qualify for state matching funds. Repayment of GO bonds comes from a tax on all taxable property – residential, commercial and industrial – located in the District.

 

Would this new bond be different from the others?

Yes. Unlike our prior requests, this new potential bond program would be a Prop. 39 bond, which adds some additional requirements (Citizens’ Oversight Committee, tax rate limits, etc.). And we would also add some requirements of our own to ensure the program remains modest and conservative, because the community has already given us so much.

 

How much would the Wiseburn Board ask for?

In addition to applying for more state funds, and seeking more philanthropic dollars and funding from all other available sources, the Wiseburn Board is considering a bond measure for approximately $39 million to meet our remaining and future needs, potentially including all the projects listed above as well as repairing and maintaining all our K-12 schools throughout the next decade. But your input will shape what request is made, if any.

 

What would a Wiseburn GO bond cost me?

The annual tax rate the Board is considering is projected not to exceed approximately $23 per $100,000 of taxable property value. Taxable property values are typically lower than market value, due to Prop. 13 limits. However, your input will affect the total bond amount which will determine the specific annual tax rate.

 

How long would we have to pay that amount?

Similar to a home loan, any new Wiseburn GO bonds would be repaid over approximately 27 years – but if the community would prefer, a maximum term for all of the bonds could also be established within the ballot measure.

 

Are there additional safeguards for taxpayers?

State law requires an independent citizens’ oversight committee and annual audits to ensure that GO bond proceeds are only spent on voter-approved projects improving our classrooms and facilities, and not used for administration or salaries. In addition, Wiseburn would prohibit costly Capital Appreciation Bonds also called “CABs,” which compound interest, costing taxpayers more.

 

What about money from the state or other sources?

We have already been able to combine your prior investments with $52.7 million of state matching funds for Da Vinci, more than $15 million in state matching funds for Wiseburn and millions of dollars of donations, and we continue working to gain as much additional funding as possible. However, we may have already obtained the vast majority of other available dollars for the foreseeable future – so now we are seeking another local investment to meet current and future needs, and to continue improving the incredible education we provide to our students.

 

Who could vote on the potential measure?

Like our prior bonds, all of the voters within Wiseburn Unified School District would be able to vote on a bond measure. However, before the Board decides to call an election, we want to hear what everyone thinks, so we are reaching out to the community in a variety of ways.

 

What happens without a new bond?
The additional potential improvements and maintenance listed above will be delayed or may not happen at all. If support for these projects and another Wiseburn bond measure is strong, the Board will call an election; if not, the Board will not call an election.