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Measure J: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Building for the Future of Education with Quality School Facilities


 
What should I know about the Mt. Diablo Unified School District?

Mt. Diablo Unified, located in Contra Costa County, is honored to serve approximately 32,000 students at one of more than 50 school sites in the cities of Clayton, Concord, Pleasant Hill; portions of Martinez, Pittsburg and Walnut Creek; and the unincorporated communities of Bay Point, Lafayette, and Pacheco.  
 
As part of a richly diverse community, MDUSD families represent numerous ethnic communities, speaking nearly 50 different languages and dialects. We offer award-winning innovative programs designed to prepare students for success in the 21st century, including Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); extensive visual and performing arts programs; and rich foreign language and dual immersion offerings.  
 
MDUSD is pleased to have opened its first International Baccalaureate (IB) program and three new regional magnet programs for the 2017-2018 school year. Efforts are underway to establish the IB program at the middle and elementary school level. MDUSD also expanded its middle college program, College Now, now serving an additional 35 students, and the first class of seniors just graduated.  
 
What do schools need for a 21st-century education?

Providing a 21st-century education requires up-to-date classrooms across the district, allowing us to have school facilities that reflect and demonstrate the positive impact a well-designed, well-equipped school facility can have on education, and which include sustainable features and are more  cost-effective and efficient to maintain and operate. This means additional technology upgrades so as our students enter college or careers, they are already proficient with technology programs. It means the creation of up-to-date, well-equipped science and computer labs, and learning environments for our career technical education programs so they mirror the real workplace. And it means up-to-date and more sophisticated safety measures.
 
What improvements are needed for student safety?

Safe classrooms, campuses, and other school facilities are essential to a quality education. Needed improvements include upgrading our emergency communications systems, and adding more security cameras, fire alarms, and lighting, especially near our fields. There are also important repairs and upgrades to be made at our schools to improve the safety of overall campus operations, including updating plumbing and fixtures, and repairing electrical wiring.  
 
How does MDUSD plan to address these challenges?
 
To address these challenges, the MDUSD Board of Education voted to place Measure J, a local school improvement bond measure, on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Measure J would restructure our existing bond, Measure C, and provide $150 million to upgrade our schools. The annual cost would be
approximately $15 per $100,000 of assessed value (not market value) per year. All funds would support repairing and improving schools in our community.
 
What about the previous bond measure? In 2010, over 60% of local voters approved Measure C, a bond measure to provide essential upgrades to our schools. This measure provided for an important investment in our schools that made the following modernization projects a priority:

• Upgrading classroom technology and technology infrastructure

• Increasing energy efficiency through projects including HVAC upgrades and retrofits and a sweeping solar initiative

• Improving safety

• Repairing school facilities and repairing/replacing leaky roofs
 
Over the past few years, additional needs have been identified by a variety of stakeholders - including our staff, families, community members, business professionals and other stakeholders - that would significantly strengthen the safety of our schools and help ensure our students have safe and up-to-date classrooms.  
 
What would be funded by Measure J?

If approved by 55% of voters, funds from Measure J may:

• Improve student safety and campus security

• Expand vocational and career technical education classrooms

• Upgrade computers and engineering classrooms

• Improve technology and science in classrooms

• Upgrade fire alarm and emergency communications systems

• Repair and replace aging roofs and outdated plumbing and electrical wiring
 
How much could Measure J cost taxpayers?

Measure J would generate $150 million and would cost $15 per $100,000 of assessed value. This is not the same as market value. Assessed value is determined by the Contra Costa County Assessor and is typically closer to the original price of the home than to today’s market value.  
 
How do we know funds from Measure J would be spent wisely?

As with the current Measure C, strict fiscal accountability provisions would be required, including audits and independent citizens’ oversight. All funds would stay local in MDUSD schools and no money could be taken by the State. No funds could be spent on administrator salaries or pensions.
 
How would the independent citizens’ oversight committee be formed?

California requires all public agencies, including school and community college districts, to form an independent citizens’ oversight committee to monitor bond proceedings and expenditures and report to the public. If Measure J is approved, the law requires the committee be formed within about 60 days after the election. Our current citizens’ oversight committee comprises representatives from the business community, a senior organization, a taxpayer organization, a PTA member as well as parents with children in the District. Employees and vendors or contractors cannot be a member of the committee. The passage of Measure J would create opportunities to add new members to the committee, and as previous members term out, community members would be solicited for the  vacant positions.
 
Would Measure J include an exemption for seniors?

By law, a bond measure cannot include a senior exemption. Seniors in our community should note, however, that the cost of Measure J is based on the assessed value of their homes, typically based on the original purchase price, and not the current market value.  
 
Why can’t we rely on the State to provide this funding for our schools?

State education funding remains inadequate; California is currently ranked 41st in per-pupil funding. The implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) has given schools greater flexibility in how they allocate funding, and has restored some funding, but only to the levels predating the recession in 2007. In February, the MDUSD Board passed a “Fair and Full Funding of California’s Public Schools” resolution to draw attention to the issue. View the resolution at esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=15101&mtgId=596
 
Who would be able to vote on Measure J?

All registered voters in Mt. Diablo Unified School District are eligible to vote on Measure J in the November 2018 election.  
 
What level of support would this measure need to pass?

In order to pass, Measure J would need to be supported by 55% of those who vote on it.
 
How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?

To learn more about voting, contact the Contra Costa County Elections Department at http://www.contracostacore.us/ or call (925) 335-7800.
 
How can I learn more about our schools?

Visit our website at www.mdusd.org to learn more about our local schools.