HAYWARD — Voters on Tuesday appeared to be approving Measure I, the Hayward Unified School District's plan to revamp and modernize its aging facilities.
The $205 million school bond required 55 percent of the vote to pass. With 115 of 151 precincts reporting, 72 percent of voters were in favor.
"If Measure I passes, this will be the first time in 45 years that we can start building new schools from the support and backing of the community," Superintendent Dale Vigil said Tuesday night. "The facility and technology improvements will now enable our kids to compete with students in neighboring districts."
Measure I would cost property owners $59 per $100,000 of assessed property value for 20 years. Funding would be used to rebuild Fairview and Schafer Park elementary schools, and modernize East Avenue and Tyrrell elementary schools and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.
Districtwide, the bond also would cover safety work such as installation of surveillance cameras, and improvements in accessibility for the handicapped.
Measure I would be the first in a series of four bonds — at a rate of every four years totalling $800 million — under a district plan to get all its facilities updated by 2020. All but one of the district's schools are more than 45 years old.
Voters who opposed the bond said Tuesday that they would rather see the district improve its quality of education first.
"I voted against I because I feel we need more money in the classroom rather than fixing buildings," said Jerry Hartley, a resident of Hayward for 40 years who brought his family's mail-in ballots to Mt. Eden High School. "If the school district manages their money and personnel, we'd be better off."
Another main reason voters opposed the measure was a lack of trust in the current administration, according to voters surveyed Tuesday.
Meanwhile, voters in favor of the measure said they recognized the district's aging facilities and the need to support public education.
"California is very behind, in particular to funding education," said Ching Wang, who voted for the bond at a polling place at Southland Mall. "We need to help fund education. It is important."
Still, some voters who supported the measure had reservations.
"History has shown that people have found loopholes in bonds and have used the funding on other things," said Holly Souza, a former school board candidate who voted for the bond at a polling place at Lorin Eden Elementary. "I will be highly upset if the district doesn't carry out the bond the way it has been presented to us."
Staff writer Matt O'Brien contributed to this report. Reach Kristofer Noceda at 510-293-2479 or email@example.com.