Saddleback Valley Unified School District

Saddleback Mountains overlooking RSM Lake

Information About Potential Local School Improvement Bond Measure

 

Dear Neighbor,

Here in Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD), we are proud to provide students with an innovative educational program, SV Innovates, to promote student success in safe, modern learning environments. SV Innovates focuses on intentional lesson design and engaging strategies for students, all supported through innovative practices to produce successful students now and in the future. Our hard-working students and dedicated teachers have helped keep our graduation rates far above both the county and state averages.

With the start of the new school year well underway, we are looking forward to planning for the future to ensure continued success of our students. Many SVUSD schools were built more than 40 years ago and need to be repaired and upgraded. It’s time to make essential repairs and improvements so our schools can serve our community for decades to come.

We want students to graduate ready for success in college and careers, and this requires a solid background in science, math, engineering and technology, as well as a strong skillset using today’s technology. We also want students to attend classes in safe and updated learning environments. Upgrades to our schools would enhance school safety and security as well as upgrade classrooms and labs to meet Next Generation instructional standards.

With these goals in mind, the SVUSD Board of Education is considering placing a local school improvement bond measure on the March 2020 ballot. Additional information about the potential bond measure is included in this brochure.

Exploring our local funding options is a community driven process, and we want to hear from you. Please reach out to Mark Perez, Director of Communications, at mark.perez@svusd.org with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Crystal Turner, Ed. D.

Superintendent, Saddleback Valley Unified School District


 

Potential Local Funding for School Improvements

The Saddleback Valley Unified School District Board of Education is considering placing a $495 million local bond measure for school facilities projects on the March 2020 ballot. A measure would cost the typical SVUSD homeowner about $130 per year to repair and improve District schools. The Facilities Master Plan, which includes all District schools, will be used as a guide for upgrades and improvements. If approved by at least 55% of SVUSD voters, a bond measure would:

  • Provide the classrooms, facilities and technology to support instruction in science, technology, engineering and math
  • Provide modern science labs, engineering labs and career technical education facilities so students are prepared for college and in-demand careers in fields like health sciences, engineering, technology and skilled trades
  • Provide the classrooms and facilities to support instruction in music and visual and performing arts
  • Repair or replace deteriorating roofs, wood and support beams that have extensive termite damage and dry rot as well as replace plumbing, sewer lines and electrical systems
  • Remove hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint from school sites
  • Upgrade older SVUSD schools so they meet the same academic and safety standards as newer SVUSD schools
  • Create flexible, multi-use classrooms to support hands-on science instruction and learning-by-doing
  • Upgrade student safety and campus security systems including security cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinklers

Strict Fiscal Accountability Would Be Required

To ensure funds would be spent as promised, the following fiscal accountability safeguards would be required:

  • A project list detailing how the bond funds will be used
  • An independent citizens’ oversight committee and annual audits to help ensure bond funds are spent as voters approved
  • All money raised by the bond measure will stay local to support SVUSD students and cannot be taken away by the State

Upgrades for Safety and Student Achievement 

Many of our schools were built more than 40 years ago and need continuous repair and upgrading. The SVUSD Board believes it is time to make essential repairs and improvements so our schools can serve our community for decades to come. In order for our kids to succeed in college and careers, they should be skilled in the use of today’s technologies and have a solid background in science, math, engineering and technology. Additionally, improvements would enhance school safety and security, and upgrade classrooms and labs to meet Next Generation instructional standards.

We Want to Hear From You

Exploring our local school facilities funding options is a community-driven process. We welcome your feedback and questions as we consider this potential measure.To provide feedback on upgrading SVUSD schools, please fill out the survey below or visit tinyurl.com/SVUSDFeedback.

 

Take the Survey

Facilities Master Plan

Printable Copy of Mailer

Printable Copy of Fact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) doing?

Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) is a highly rated TK-12 public school district focused on providing all students with a high-quality education through innovative and interactive learning environments. Our schools have award-winning teachers who provide students with the resources they need to succeed, and our students leave SVUSD ready for college and careers.

SVUSD serves children from the cities of Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest as well as some areas of Orange County and the cities of Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita.

SVUSD By the Numbers:

  • 26,880 TK-12 students
  • 93.7% Graduation Rate 
  • 1230 Average District SAT score
  • 37 SVUSD sites

What challenges are facing our schools?

While local students continue to excel, our facilities need to keep pace with the rising academic standards that ensure students have access to the education, technology and skills training they need to succeed in today’s global economy.

Specifically, improving access to modern technology would help equip local students for success in high school, college and the challenges of our changing world. Additionally, fixing leaky roofs and updating deteriorating plumbing, sewer lines and electrical systems would allow local teachers and students to focus on academics and innovative programs in the classroom.

How is the District planning to address these issues?

Over the past two years, SVUSD has been working with parents, community and staff stakeholders to update the Facilities Master Plan to identify the improvements needed to provide our students with up-to-date learning environments.

In order to fund projects identified in the 2019 Facilities Master Plan, the Saddleback Valley Unified School District Board of Education is considering placing a local school improvement bond measure on the March 2020 ballot. This measure will fund essential projects to support the current and future District education program that will ensure all students who plan to go to college are prepared to succeed, and those who don’t plan to go to college receive the career training they need to compete for good-paying jobs. The Facility Master Plan, which includes all District schools, will be used as a guide for upgrades and improvements. Every penny would stay in our community and no funds could be taken away by the State.

Specifically, how would funds from a local school improvement bond measure be used?

If passed by local voters, a school improvement bond measure would include, but is not limited to, the following repairs and improvements to our school sites:

  • Providing the classrooms, facilities and technology to support instruction in science, technology, engineering and math
  • Providing modern science labs, engineering labs, and career technical education facilities so students are prepared for college and in-demand careers in fields like health sciences, engineering, technology and skilled trades
  • Providing the classrooms and facilities to support instruction in music and visual and performing arts
  • Repairing or replacing deteriorating roofs, wood and support beams that have extensive termite damage and dry rot as well as replacing plumbing, sewer lines and electrical systems as needed
  • Removing hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint from school sites
  • Upgrading older District schools so they meet the same academic and safety standards as newer schools
  • Creating flexible, multi-use classrooms to support hands-on science instruction and learning-by-doing
  • Improving student safety and campus security systems including security cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinklers

Would the bond measure pay for teacher or administrators’ salaries or pensions?

No, none of the money from this measure could be used for salaries, benefits or pensions for administrators or teachers.

How do I know funds from a measure would be used responsibly?

A proposed bond measure would feature strict fiscal accountability provisions:

  • Independent citizen oversight and annual audits would be required
  • No money could be used for administrators’ salaries
  • All money raised by the measure would stay local to support our students and could not be taken away by the State
  • Our local schools would be eligible to receive at least $35 million in State matching money when it becomes available – money that otherwise would go to other school districts.

How would a school improvement bond measure contribute to an innovative and next generation education for Saddleback Valley students?

In Saddleback Valley Unified School District, we know that a modern education is the key to our students’ success in today’s changing world. A bond measure would provide funding for updated classrooms, technology, facilities, labs and equipment for career and technology education classes as well as active learning spaces for instruction in math and science. These modernized facilities would enable the District to prepare our students for college and in-demand jobs in fields like health sciences, engineering, technology and skilled trades.

When would my child’s school benefit from this bond measure?

If voters approve this measure in March 2020, construction on projects funded by bond monies is anticipated to begin in the 2020 – 2021 school year. SVUSD will have more information about project implementation following the election in March 2020.  

Would every school in SVUSD receive improvements? Where can I find information on projects intended to be completed at each school site?

The Facilities Master Plan, which includes all SVUSD schools, will be used as a guide for upgrades and improvements throughout the District. This plan identifies projects at every school and was developed with input from students, parents, teachers and staff at each school while also seeking to meet SVUSD’s goal of achieving an equally high standard of technology, classrooms, labs and innovative work spaces across all campuses. 

Facilities Master Plan

Has our community supported a bond measure before?

Yes, in 2004 voters in SVUSD passed Measure B, a $180 million school improvement and repair bond, which was supplemented with an additional $145 million from the State Facility Program matching funds for a total of $325 million in facilities improvements of the past 12 years.

What did Measure B fund?

In 2004, our schools were over 30 years old and, like old homes, were deteriorating with age and needed basic repairs throughout all of our classrooms and facilities. Measure B funds were spent on modernization projects at our schools as well as addressing the extensive repairs and maintenance needs. A complete listing of Measure B projects can be found on the District website at the button below. While Measure B allowed us to make significant repairs and upgrades in our schools, it is time again to invest in our school facilities and infrastructure to provide Next Generation learning environments in order to maximize student success.  

Measure B Projects

How much would this bond measure cost?

While no decision has been made, the cost of the bond measure would not exceed $34 per $100,000 in assessed value, not market value, and is estimated to cost the typical homeowner about $130 per year, while bonds are outstanding. All funds from a local measure would stay in our community and no funds could be taken away by the State.

Is there any other way to update and improve our schools?

Saddleback Valley Unified School District has very few options when it comes to making the necessary renovations and upgrades to our local schools. We can’t rely on the State to complete these repairs. A local school facility improvement funding measure would provide the local control necessary to complete prioritized projects to provide a safe and modern learning environment for our students. In addition, our schools would qualify for $35 million in State matching funds if the bond measure were to pass — funds that would otherwise go to other communities.

I don’t have any kids in schools. How does local education funding affect me?

Great schools support strong, safe communities. Whether or not you have school-age children, protecting high quality schools means protecting our quality of life and keeping our community a desirable place for young families raise their children.

Would I be able to vote on the potential measure?

All registered voters living in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District would be eligible to vote on the potential measure.

What level of support would this measure need to pass?

This measure would need to be supported by 55% of those who vote on the measure in order for it to pass.

How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?

You can register to vote at registertovote.ca.gov. To find out more about voting in this election, please contact the Orange County Registrar of Voters at (714) 567-7600.

RegisterToVote.ca.gov

How can I find out more?

For questions or comments, please contact Mark Perez, Director of Communications.

Send email to Mark Perez, Director of Communications

Questions?

Exploring our local funding options is a community-driven process. We welcome your feedback and questions as we consider this potential measure. Please contact Mark Perez, Director of Communications, at mark.perez@svusd.org with questions or comments.

Send email to Mark Perez, Director of Communications