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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Special District

Pasadena Unified School District
Measure O - 55% Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passing

65,275 votes yes (63.02%)

38,296 votes no (36.98%)

To upgrade schools, improve equitable access to technology, attract/retain quality teachers by repairing deteriorating classrooms, bathrooms, roofs, science labs; removing hazardous materials; providing safe drinking water; acquiring, constructing, repairing sites, facilities, equipment, shall Pasadena Unified School District's measure authorizing $516,300,000 in bonds at legal rates, levying $45/$100,000 assessed value (averaging$28,504,000 annually) while bonds are outstanding, be adopted, requiring annual independent audits/citizens' oversight, all funds only for local schools?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel

Approval of Measure O ("Measure") would authorize the Board of Education ("Board") of the Pasadena Unified School District ("District"), which placed the Measure on the ballot by Resolution No. 2575, to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $516,300,000.

Proceeds from the sale of the bonds authorized by the Measure shall be used only for the purposes specified in the Measure, including, but not limited to, removing asbestos and lead paint; repairing and replacing bathrooms, roofs, and electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; providing safe drinking water; improving fire safety and security systems; increasing accessibility for students with disabilities; and constructing and renovating classrooms, restrooms, offices, and facilities; upgrading computer and science labs. Bond proceeds may not be expended on teacher and administrator salaries and other operating expenses.

The Board shall cause independent performance and financial audits to be conducted annually to ensure that bond proceeds are spent only for projects identified in the Measure. The Board shall appoint an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee in compliance with Education Code section 15278 no later than 60 days after the Board enters the election results in its minutes. The District shall create an account into which proceeds of the bond shall be deposited and shall comply with the reporting requirements of Government Code section 53410.

The bonds shall not exceed the maximum interest rate as allowed by law. According to the District's Tax Rate Statement. the best estimate of the average tax rate required to fund the bond issue, based on assessed valuations available when the District filed the statement, is $37.18 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. The best estimateof the highest tax rate required to fund the bonds, based on assessed valuations available when the District filed the statement, is $45 per $100,000 of assessed valuation and it is estimated to start in fiscal year 2027-2028. The final fiscal year in which the tax to be levied to fund this bond is anticipated to be fiscal year 2048-2049. The estimated total debt service, including principal and interest, is approximately $798,100,000.

This Measure requires a fifty-five percent (55%) vote for passage.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Smart, Safe, Sustainable, Successful—Measure O helps our public schools be all these things.

SmartThe COVID-19 crisis makes clear that our schools must have the best available technology to support teacher and student success. Measure O provides critical funds for exactly that - creating, maintaining and continually upgrading cutting-edge software, hardware and supporting infrastructure, plus high-quality labs and other facilities to support robust Pasadena Unified School District programs and curricula.

SafeMany Pasadena Unified School District buildings are well-designed, well-built, historic and beautiful, with some up to 100 years old. Keeping them safe and functional requires continual updating. Measure O provides the funds to do that.

SustainableMeasure O also provides funds to install solar power, increase building efficiency, and smart water use for landscaping – helping to save the environment and shifting precious dollars to the classroom.

Successful. Graduates must be ready for success in this uncertain, changing world. Measure O allows continued creation and maintenance of up-to-date facilities that support student success, including infrastructure for technology; visual and performing arts; athletics; job skill-building spaces; open labs for robotics, coding, 3D printing and similar activities; classrooms that meet evolving 21st century standards and more.

To be sure every dollar is watched over and well-spent, Measure O includes a rigorous Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee.

Our public schools are one of our community's most valuable and important public resources. They prepare our future community leaders, and they protect our property values. They're key to addressing inequity and inequality. Early community leaders made schools a top priority and invested in them accordingly. It's our job to maintain, upgrade and enhance that work.

Great public schools are important to all of us, whether or not we have children or grandchildren in school. To be a great community, we must have great public schools.

Vote Yes on Measure O!

SCOTT PHELPS

Board Member and Vice President, Pasadena Unified School District

ELIZABETH POMEROY

Board Member and Clerk, Pasadena Unified School District

MICHELLE RICHARDSON BAILEY

Board Member, Pasadena Unified School District

ROY BOULGHOURJIAN

Board Member, Pasadena Unified School District

Arguments AGAINST

VOTE NO ON MEASURE O. NO MORE BLANK CHECKS TO PUSD.

Now is not the time to raise taxes. If you're a homeowner or rent in the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), you'll all pay higher taxes unless the District's $516 million bond is defeated.

Our unemployment rate is the highest it's been since the Great Depression. Businesses are closed. More are closing. Neighbors can't afford the cost of housing or groceries.

PUSD'S LARGEST BOND / TAX MEASURE EVER!

Declining student enrollment and vacant/surplus property, yet the PUSD is pushing its largest bond ever, raising taxes when no one can afford it!

During the past 22 years, PUSD student enrollment has decreased by 24% with an additional 11% decrease predicted by 2025. Still, District politicians and bureaucrats want more of our hard-earned tax dollars.

In the last 20 years, PUSD has raised our property taxes TWICE by almost $600 MILLION.

PUSD IS OUT OF TOUCH

In a rushed process, with token public input and without a real project list or community options, a divided PUSD board pushed through this $516 million tax increase. One PUSD Board Member called the bond vote"irresponsible". Even PUSD Board members recognize that residents and businesses can't afford this and no projects are identified.

PUSD's existing bonds won't be paid off until 2037. None of us can afford higher taxes to feed PUSD's bond addiction.

NO OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY

PUSD's long, troubled record of project mismanagement and financial irresponsibility is well documented. PUSD is not legally required to build any project on its wish list. They're asking us for a blank check.

No planning. No oversight. No accountability.

Now is not the time for a massive $516 million tax increase.

Vote NO on Measure O.

www.NoOnPUSDMeasureO.com

DENNIS DE PIETRO

Architect, Pasadena Homeowner

PAUL LITTLE

Former Pasadena City Councilmember

S. CHRYSTAL WATSON

Retired Pasadena City College Dean

ARTURO IBARRA, DDS

Dentist, Interreligious Foundation Director

WILLIAM OPEL, PhD

Retired Research Executive

Replies to Arguments FOR

VOTE NO ON MEASURE O

PASADENA UNIFIED FACES A CRISIS - JUST NOT A FACILITIES CRISIS!

Our children aren't getting the education they deserve because of PUSD's focus on building and construction, not on students, where it's desperately needed.

The problems facing PUSD students are NOT addressed by this tax increase. By law, Measure O can't fund instructional materials or teachers.

When given the chance to spend $7-million of our sales tax money on students, PUSD chose to fatten its reserves instead. PUSD is also getting $20 million to address COVID-19.

PUSD NEEDS TO PLAN BEFORE THEY SPEND!

PUSD invested millions of our tax dollars in schools they recently closed.

PUSD projects enrollment will drop from 18,000 to 14,000 students by 2025. Will we really need 4 high schools, 6 middle schools and 14 elementary schools for a shrinking student body?

Existing PUSD bonds won't be paid off until 2037 – that's 17 years!

We don't need NEW bonds.

INSUFFICIENT OVERSIGHT

Measure O "oversight" is anything but robust and independent. Oversight requires accurate information. Members of the most recent Bond Oversight Committee were frustrated saying PUSD staff provided incomplete and inaccurate data.

Now, PUSD wants taxpayers to trust them...again!

Measure O hurts families already struggling in our community. Higher taxes will drive rents and the cost of living up.

Measure O takes tax dollars that PUSD doesn't need at a time when none of us can afford it!

Tell PUSD to focus on students first!

VOTE NO ON MEASURE O!

www.NoOnPUSDMeasureO.com

PAUL LITTLE

Former Pasadena City Councilmember

S. CHRYSTAL WATSON

Retired Pasadena City College Dean

WILLIAM OPEL, Ph.D.

Retired Research Executive

LINDA M. LASLEY

Attorney/Homeowner

JOE VALDES

Homeowner

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Measure O—Investing in Our Children, Our Public Schools, Our Community

For the benefit of everyOne, the time for investing in Our public schools is nOw. Recent events have laid bare the inequalities in our systems.

PUSD serves 16,000 students - 60% from families of less means; 80% are students of color. PUSD students deserve the best we can offer—beautiful spaces, up-to-date technology and infrastructure, support for success in the classroom, athletics, the arts, and more. We must make our schools as strong as possible.

The opposition argument has lost sight of the importance of investing in Our schools and Our children—a high priority for early community leaders. Please note:

- Measure O isn't a blank check. All projects will be approved in a public board meeting and reviewed by a citizens oversight committee.

- The property tax increase is affordable: Just $20 per $100,000 in assessed value beginning in 2021—less than $1.75 a month— increasing over time to $45 per $100,000 in assessed value (less than $4 a month).

- PUSD had bonds in 1997 and 2008.

- PUSD has been discussing a new bond for two years with numerous opportunities for public input.

- Measure O will fund specific technology and infrastructure projects critical for student success.

Amazing things are happening in Our schools. Check out some of their fantastic programs at: YesonmeasureO.net. We must support these efforts.

Vote Yes on O for Our children, Our schools, Our Community. The time is nOw!

JOAN FAUVRE

Former Executive Director, Pasadena Educational Foundation

DR. MIKALA RAHN

Former PUSD Board Member, Founder of Learning Works Ad Chief of Education and Research for Home Boys Industries

PABLO MIRALLES

Parent and Film Director

DEL LILE

Realtor

DOLORES HICKAMBOTTOM

Community Advocate

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