San Diego Unified receives voter support to build the next generation of world-class schools: #BetterSD

Posted: Thursday, November 8th 2018


Scripps Ranch High Sustainable Technologies Building
Scripps Ranch HS Sustainable Technologies Building

Now that voters have overwhelmingly approved plans from San Diego Unified to create the next generation of world-class schools, the district is preparing to implement the sweeping projects outlined in Measure YY.

The San Diego Neighborhood Schools Repair and Student Safety Measure put forward by the Board of Education this year received more than 60 percent of the vote on November 6.

The bond measure will fund some $3.5 billion in school improvements to every neighborhood, including a focus on school safety and creating the classrooms of the future.

“We have a clear vision for the future built around the idea that a diploma from San Diego Unified should have real value for our students and for all the major institutions of our city,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “This new measure funds that vision, starting with safety and security, and including the construction of job-oriented classroom settings where we know our students will thrive.”

Safety and security are the starting points for school district plans to move forward. Marten says the new bond measure will help the district protect students from threats both seen and unseen, adding protections against campus intruders and removing dangerous lead from school drinking water. Much of the funding in the new bond measure will also go to basic repairs to put every San Diego school into essential working order.

“As a nation, sadly, we have learned a lot from the tragic shootings to the water system failures in Flint, Michigan,” said Board President Kevin Beiser. “The new measure will allow us to put into practice what we have learned and use that knowledge to keep students safe.”

The district plans to issue $350 million in new bonds next spring, which means San Diegans could start seeing the fruits of this investment as early as next summer. A full list of the projects planned under the new measure is available on the district website, including a school by school breakdown of the improvements.

“We want to move with speed and prudence to put these new funds to work as quickly as possible benefiting students,” said Beiser, who along with fellow Trustee Michael McQuary was re-elected this week by wide margins. They will be sworn in for their new terms at a Board of Education meeting on December 4. The Board has scheduled a conversation for that same meeting to begin prioritizing school improvement projects through the latest bond.

Some of the first impacts parents and students are likely to see will be in the classroom. By working closely with partners in the business community, San Diego Unified has identified the fastest growing sectors in the local economy, and will be bringing these opportunities into the classroom. New job-oriented learning experiences will become available to students in every neighborhood, preparing them for successful careers in bluetech, skilled trades, the medical field and more. These changes will form the foundation for new construction projects to be funded by the new spending measure.

“We are creating classroom experiences for students that will help them step seamlessly into the world of work later in their lives,” said Superintendent Marten. She stressed the job-oriented classroom experiences benefit both those students planning to go to college and university, as well as those students planning to start a career immediately after graduation.

The future vision outlined by school district leaders goes beyond the classroom construction that will result from the bond measure approved this week. They have committed to providing every student with academic rigor, access to the arts and music, scholarship-level athletics and fitness programs, advanced technology and a foundation in civics. To date, these commitments have resulted in rising test scores and graduation rates. State and national educational leaders are increasingly looking to San Diego Unified as a public education success story.

The Union Tribune this week described the massive vote in favor of the new bond measure as a “solid endorsement” by voters of the San Diego Unified School District. Marten thanked voters for their support and pledged to continue work on building a world-class education structure “worthy of our students.”

Previous San Diego Unified bond measures have already significantly transformed the school district and the city, including the following:

  • $1.78B expended

  • 126 major construction projects completed

  • 56 new classroom buildings

  • 531 portables removed/replaced

  • 20 air conditioning projects

  • 25 career technical education facilities

  • 125 projects in design and bid phases

  • 20 projects currently in construction

  • 17,801 job years created

A complete list of bond projects planned under previous measures is also available on the district website.

 

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