Questions & Answers About
FACILITY BOND MEASURE
Fremont USD Measure E

What is Measure E?
The Measure E is a local school bond measure to upgrade and renovate local school facilities.

Why is the Measure E needed?
While there have been considerable improvements in the quality of our local schools over the past decade, the fact remains that many of our neighborhood schools are old with classrooms that are inadequate and outdated. The average age of our local schools is 50 years. Schools built years ago need significant updating.

How will the Measure E funds be used to benefit local students?
Measure E will improve the quality of education by addressing our most pressing needs:

  • Updating technology and aging classrooms, math, science and computer labs for 21st Century learning

  • Upgrading electrical wiring to meet current safety codes

  • Fixing and repairing leaky roofs

  • Replacing aging plumbing and upgrading restroom facilities

  • Removing asbestos, and other unsafe conditions to improve student safety;

  • Repairing, constructing, and acquiring equipment, classrooms, sites and facilities


How will my neighborhood school benefit?
Over the last two years, the Fremont Unified conducted a comprehensive, site-by-site facility needs assessment at all 42 district schools. If approved by voters, Measure E funds will allow the Fremont Unified to take care of the most pressing needs at every site throughout the district. School site project lists are available at each of the schools and videos describing the projects to be funded can be found on all Fremont USD school websites.

What will happen if the bond doesn’t pass?

While well maintained, Fremont Unified schools continue to age and will require repairs if no additional funding comes in. Delaying facility improvements will increase future costs. Without the funding from Measure E, the District will not be able to renovate schools or obtain matching funds that will go to other districts.

What about using state funds?
The District has already maximized the limited state funds currently available to school districts. The bond will actually help the District qualify for additional state and other matching funds as they become available.

How will the bonds benefit those who don’t have children in schools?
Quality schools mean quality neighborhoods. Well-educated youth make better neighbors and employees. Because the resale value of homes in our community is directly affected by the quality of our schools, good schools preserve property values. Each new school is a community resource center.

How can we be sure that the Measure E money will be spent properly?
All money raised by the Measure E will stay in our community to support local children. It cannot be taken away by the State or used for other purposes. No money can be spent on school administrator salaries. An independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee will monitor expenditures and ensure all funds are spent properly.

Who will be on the oversight committee?
The oversight committee will be selected after the bond passes. Parents, teachers, business leaders, senior citizens and community groups will all be represented. Anyone interested in serving on the committee is invited to advise the Board through the superintendent.

How much will the bonds cost?

The total cost of the Measure E is less than $5 a week for the average homeowner. The entire cost is tax deductible. Every penny from Measure E will stay in our community and cannot be taken away by the State.

How can FUSD avoid the bond financing problems experienced by other districts?
The FUSD bond program is a fiscally responsible, well thought-out plan that uses conservative estimates to provide the funds necessary to fix Fremont schools.

The problems that other districts experienced with bond programs were prior to the implementation of AB182. With the passage of this legislation, it is no longer possible for districts to make these mistakes.

Can’t the District find the resources it needs by cutting administration and waste?
The school district has already cut administration to the minimum required to keep students safe, deliver a basic education, and operate the District in an efficient manner. The types of repairs and need for renovation proposed in Measure E would be impossible to fund in the District’s current fiscal climate.

Why aren’t Developers paying for the new schools?
Developer fees pay for only a part of the cost for new schools since law caps those fees.  By law, developers cannot be required to pay for school facilities in excess of the numbers of students generated by their developments.   Last year, the District collected about $2 million in developer fees, which is small fraction of the District’s $278 million annual budget.  The District has worked hard to collect every penny it can legally collect from developers.  In fact, several years ago, the School Board obtained special permission from the State to increase the school fees developers are required to pay.  Currently, the District is collecting $5.27 per square foot for residential development, significantly higher than the current $3.20 per square foot most of the Districts across the State are authorized to collect from developers.  Even so, since these developer fees on average each year collected by the District represent less than 1% of the District’s annual budget, these fees simply do not generate enough revenue to build new schools and make necessary upgrades and repairs to existing schools.

Why doesn’t the FUSD form a Mello-Roos district to deal with new development and the cost of new schools?
A Mello-Roos property tax assessment district is formed when the landowners within an area vote to impose the tax. The School District cannot unilaterally create a Mello-Roos District but must place it on the ballot with only the affected landowners eligible to cast a vote.  Mello-Roos requires a two-third vote. It is not one vote per person, but effectively
one vote per acre owned by a landowner in the proposed Mello-Roos District.   It is ironic that the opponents of Measure E are actively trying to defeat Measure E that requires approval by 55% of all voters.  The reality is that only a few landowners owning 33% or more of the total acreage could defeat a Mello-Roos District.  Further, the opponents of Measure E are only proposing a Mello-Roos District in Warm Springs to accommodate the new growth surrounding the new Warm Springs Bart Station.  Even if such a Mello-Roos District were formed around the Warm Springs Bart station, this tax assessment district would do nothing for most of the students who already attend schools in the Kennedy Attendance Area, and would do nothing at all for the students in any of the other four attendance areas in the District. The Fremont Unified School District though is already leading on this issue for development around the Warm Springs Bart station.  As discussed below, the District is negotiating with developers to mitigate the impact of the new homes by paying for a new elementary school within the development area and adding additional capacity at Walters Junior High and Kennedy High School.
 
Is the District working with developers to mitigate the impact of new developments on FUSD school facilities?
Measure E addresses the needs of all 42 schools across the District whether or not there may be new development.  Most of the development in Fremont occurs in what are known as “in-fill” sites and so there is no financial incentive, and, again, no legal requirement for these developers to pay anything more than they are legally required to pay.  Nevertheless, in an area surrounding the new Warm Springs Bart Station, the District and developers have entered into an agreement where the developers will pay for the construction of one new elementary school and provide classrooms at the middle school and high school.  But this agreement would only accommodate the new students generated by this Warm Springs development.  That is why Measure E is needed to pay for improving schools for all of our students across the entire District who already live here in Fremont.

How did the District determine the size of the contingency fund? How will the Board deal with leftover funds?
To ensure that the district is able to complete the Measure E projects approved by voters and to plan for any unforeseen changes in construction costs, interest rates or drops in the assessed value of homes in Fremont, the Board set a contingency amount slightly more conservative than the industry standard. This is what the Board did with the 2002 bond, and was one of only a few districts in the Bay Area that was able to complete its bond program on time and under budget.


If all of the Measure E projects are completed under budget, the Board will enlist the bond oversight committee and engage the community to identify other unmet needs that can be funded.

Why does the bond primarily focus on modernization and upgrades rather than building new school facilities?
It doesn’t make sense to tear down buildings that can be upgraded and modernized. FUSD has identified $1.6 billion in needs to accommodate the students already in our schools.  The Board of Education reduced the list of projects to address the most pressing existing needs in three areas:  health and safety needs (things like basic HVAC systems, plumbing, roofing, etc.), technology infrastructure (electrical wiring and infrastructure to provide basic technology in classrooms and schools), and neighborhood seats (due to existing overcrowding, growing enrollment and the need to reduce class sizes).  The decision to limit the projects was done after a 2-year study of every classroom and every school by professional architects and engineers, and after a long community input process.  We recognize that Measure E does not meet all of the needs. Measure E does address the most pressing needs.

Wasn’t asbestos completely removed, and the leaky roofs and outdated electrical wiring in our district fixed with monies from the 2002 Bond?
The 2002 bond removed exposed asbestos for the projects that were done at that time.  It did not remove all asbestos from campuses.  Because of the age of our buildings and because asbestos was a common insulation material when most of our schools were built, there is additional work to be done with asbestos removal.  Whenever we modernize older buildings, asbestos removal is part of the project.

The 2002 bond included electrical work and roofs.   Our elementary, junior high and high schools continue to age and need basic repairs and upgrades including fixing leaky roofs, upgrading heating and cooling systems, and repairing restrooms, in order to make our schools quality learning environments for students and teachers.  A roof that may have been adequate 12 years ago and was not replaced with the 2002 bond may need to be replaced now.  The same is true with electrical work.  The use of technology has grown exponentially since the 2002 bond was passed and many of our schools lack the electrical capacity to accommodate the number of computers, laptops, etc. that our students need today for 21
st century learning. 

Will senior citizens who own their homes, be offered a senior exemption?
No. Under law, exemptions are not allowed for general obligation bonds.

What about other funding sources—like the Lottery?
Sources like the State Lottery cannot be used for facility upgrades because by law, Lottery funds can only go directly into classroom instruction. Note: Lottery funds comprise less than 2% of Fremont Unified School District’s annual budget. Bond measures are the only mechanism available for periodic school renovations and upgrades.

Who gets to vote on the Measure E?
All registered voters who reside within the Fremont Unified School District are eligible to vote on the Measure E. To pass, the Measure E must receive support from 55% of the voters who vote in the June 3, 2014 Election.

What important dates should I remember?
Absentee and Sample Ballots are mailed the week of May 5, 2014. Election Day is June 3, 2014. The last day to register to vote in this election is May 19, 2014.

Where can I go for more information?
To learn more, visit the Fremont USD website, http://www.fremont.k12.ca.us. If you have questions about the district budget and/or programs, please contact Raul Parungao, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services at (510) 657-2350.

For information about the citizen’s campaign to pass Measure E, please contact Support Fremont Schools, at info@suppportfremontschools.com. For further information about the measures on the June 2014 election, please go to www.smartvoter.org.