WHITTIER – The Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees unanimously voted on June 9 to place a $183.5 million facilities bond on the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot to address necessary repairs and renovations, improve school safety and technology, and upgrade career education and science/computer classrooms across District facilities.
Whittier Union voters previously supported Measure C in 1999 and Measure W in 2008, authorizing $173 million to transform schools into modern, state-of-the-art facilities. The District concluded its construction program in 2019.
“Our student deserve the best facilities and a high quality teaching staff. We know that there is a direct correlation between retaining high-quality teachers and having optimal learning environments for our students,” said Superintendent Martin Plourde. “This new bond would allow us to address the critical needs of our schools, produce the highest-quality learning facilities for students and educators and ensure the continued success of our scholars.”
The bond – which would not increase current tax rates and needs at least 55% of voter support ¬– would cost property owners no more than 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and would replace existing Measure C taxes that expire in 2023. A Citizens Oversight Committee would be formed to review expenditures and ensure funds are spent as authorized.
Under the proposed project list, the District plans to improve school safety and security by providing safe drinking water; upgrading fire safety systems; improving student access to health services at school; and preparing for natural disasters and public health emergencies.
Although the District regularly keeps up with maintenance of its buildings, which range from 60 to over 100 years old, ongoing basic repairs are necessary. They include removing asbestos lead paint; upgrading outdated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; expanding vocational and career education classrooms; and repairing leaky roofs and deteriorating bathrooms. The District also plans to upgrade science and engineering classrooms, computer labs and libraries; improve instructional technology for online education; provide 21st century learning at each school; upgrade outdated electrical wiring and improve wi-fi access for online learning.