HAYWARD — School officials have little to no room for error to get a facilities bond passed next June, according to results of a district feasibility study.

Despite that warning, time and the rising cost of materials have prompted trustees to act now. Staff will work on a recommendation — scheduled to go before the board at its Jan. 9 meeting — to place a facilities measure on the June 2008 ballot.

"The last bond we passed was in 1962, and community members ask, 'If not now, then when?'" trustee Sergio Saenz said. "If we keep postponing (a bond), it makes things more expensive."

Results from a November survey of 403 registered voters show that overall support for a bond was more than the 55 percent needed to pass such a measure.

But support for a bond usually drops after voters see how the measure will affect their tax rates.

After surveying assessed values of homes in Hayward, the district calculated that it can pull a maximum of $205 million from a school bond.

School districts are able to pull property taxes under Proposition 39, which authorizes bonds for repair, construction or replacement of school facilities.

The $205 million bond is based upon $59 a year per $100,000 of assessed property value. A home's assessed value is the price the homeowner paid for the property, and is different than the home's current value.

Survey results initially showed that 51 percent of voters polled would support a $205 million bond.


Advertisement

But as the hypothetical tax impact dropped by $10 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, support increased, the survey found.

Each $10 reduction in the tax impact takes away the equivalent of a brand-new elementary school, officials said.

Perhaps the most telling information from the study is the opinion residents have of the district's current administration.

Top reasons voters gave for opposing the possible bond, according to the survey, were: The district wasted money in the past, and the district has an inept administration that performs poorly and cannot be trusted.

District staff recognize that any suc-cessful bond campaign would need the trust of the community, and will work on outreach services to educate residents on why a facilities measure is needed.

Aside from Stonebrae Elementary, paid for by the developer of the community with the same name, and Burbank Elementary, a joint venture between the city and Hayward Area Recreation and Park District scheduled to open in August 2008, Hayward schools are deteriorating.

About $800 million would be needed to revamp all district schools, according to Hayward Unified's master facilities plan.

The plan has all schools scheduled to be modernized by 2020, which would be funded by four school bonds.

If the community approves this first bond, school officials could continue placing measures before voters until all of the hoped-for projects are completed.

Tentative plans for the possible June 2008 bond call for a $205 million measure to rebuild Fairview and Schafer Park elementary schools, and modernize East Avenue and Tyrrell elementary schools, along with Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

Kristofer Noceda can be reached at 510-293-2479 or knoceda@bayareanewsgroup.com.