Dear Parents and Community Members:
It’s an exciting time within Orange Unified as we continue to march forward on our quest to provide first-rate facilities to our students and teachers.
On March 8, the Board of Education received the results of a statistically reliable survey of voters in the District to assess the feasibility of placing a bond measure on the November 2014 ballot. True North Research Inc. reported to the Board that approximately 64% of the electorate stated that they definitely or probably would vote yes to modernize the District’s comprehensive high schools. While there is more work to be done to educate the public about the needs of our schools, the positive polling results show we are heading in the right direction, earning the support of our community.
At the same meeting, the Board also received a report on possible language to provide assurances and protections to the taxpayers so that any funds raised would go to modernizing the campuses for which the voters intended them. In order to accomplish this, the Board placed language in the resolution that mandates bond funds be divided equally, so 25% of the funds received must be spent at each of the four comprehensive high schools – Canyon High, El Modena High, Orange High and Villa Park High. Additionally, language assuring that bond proceeds will not be used for maintenance of school facilities, school operating expenses, nor teacher and administration salaries was added to the ballot proposition draft.
To provide assurances that funds are available to provide for ongoing maintenance of the renovated facilities, the Board is also considering placing language in the ballot resolution that will require an additional 1% of all general fund revenue be allocated to facilities maintenance for the life of the bonds. This is all in addition to the protections already in law, such as forming a Citizen’s Oversight Committee to provide annual reports to the Board and public on the bond program’s fiscal and performance audits.
CARE (Community Advancement through Renovation for Education), the grass-roots citizens committee advocating the modernization of our high schools, continues to advance the cause through fund raising and community outreach. Anyone interested in learning more about CARE can find them on Facebook at CAREforOUSD or on the web at www.CAREforOUSD.org.
The next step is for the Board to decide on the final ballot resolution language and the amount of the bonds. They may take action in June to place an item on the ballot in the November general election to see if the voters want the District to sell bonds and use the proceeds to modernize our comprehensive high schools.
I encourage you to stay up to date on the events surrounding this issue and other important District communications by visiting the District’s website (www.orangeusd.org) and following us on Facebook at OrangeUnifiedSchoolDistrictCA.
Michael L. Christensen