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Tuesday March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Special District

Sulphur Springs Union School District
Measure US - 55% Approval Required

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Election Results


6,152 votes yes (42.63%)

8,279 votes no (57.37%)

To improve local elementary schools by: increasing access to science, technology, engineering, math, and arts instruction; modernizing classrooms and labs; upgrading security and emergency communication systems; replacing aging portable classrooms; shall the Sulphur Springs Union School District measure be adopted to issue $78,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, raising an average of $4,000,000 annually through maturity, projected levies of $0.022 per $100 of assessed valuation, audits, an oversight committee, and no money for administrator salaries?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel

Approval of Measure US ("Measure") would authorize the Board of Trustees ("Board") of the Sulphur Springs Union School District ("District"), which placed the Measure on the ballot by Resolution No. R-19-55, to issue general obligation bonds in a maximum principal amount not to exceed $78,000,000.

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, upgrading and replacing HVAC, flooring, fire alarm systems, roofing, parking lots, and playground safety surfacing; replace portables, construct permanent classrooms, and upgrade furniture and equipment; and install and upgrade safety and security systems. Bond proceeds may not be expended on teacher or administrator salaries or other school operating expenses.

The Board shall establish an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee and cause independent performance and financial audits to be conducted annually to ensure bond proceeds are expended as specified in the Measure. The Board shall deposit bond proceeds in a building fund held by the Los Angeles County Treasurer. The Superintendent of the District shall cause an annual report to be filed with the Board no later than January 1 of each year, reporting on the bond proceeds and expenditures, as well as the status of projects listed in the Measure.

Approval of the Measure does not guarantee proposed projects will be funded beyond the local revenues generated by the Measure. The District's project proposals may assume receipt of matching State funds subject to appropriation by the Legislature or approval of a statewide bond measure.

Bonds shall be issued pursuant to the California Constitution, Education Code and other laws. The bonds may be sold in series over time. The interest rate and maturity date on any bond shall not exceed the maximum allowed by law. According to the District's Tax Rate Statement, the best estimate of the average annual tax rate required to fund the bonds, based on assessed valuations available when the District filed the statement, is $0.022 per $100 of assessed valuation (or $22 per $100,000 of assessed value). It is expected that the tax will be collected until fiscal year 2055-56. The estimated total debt service required to be repaid if all bonds are issued and sold is $148 million, including principal and interest. Estimated tax rates are based on the assessed value of taxable property on official rolls, not on a property's market value.

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

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

Measure for Academic Excellence, New Classrooms, and Improved School Safety

Our schools are the center of our community, and all have received awards for high academic achievement. To maintain our high quality of education, we must continue to invest in our schools to best prepare students for high school, college, and careers.

While all our schools are well maintained, most were built over 50 years ago, and need to be modernized. We must build new classrooms to replace portable buildings, repair and upgrade our existing facilities, and improve access to computers and modern technology.

Our community has always supported schools, and the District has spent local tax dollars wisely. Bond expenditures are audited annually by independent auditors, and are in compliance.

Even with prudent use of District funds, there are additional school improvement needs that cannot be met with existing resources. As permitted by State law, Measure US will provide required funding to:

–  Modernize and improve all schools, including classrooms and labs
–  Construct new classrooms and upgrade learning spaces to improve student access to instruction in science, technology, engineering, and math
–  Upgrade safety and security systems, including cameras and communication to ensure emergency preparedness
–  Provide the local match for over $20 million is State matching grants

Taxpayer safeguards required by State law are in place and include an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee to ensure bond funds are only spent on voter-approved projects, and financial and performance audits are performed annually.

Measure US funds cannot be taken away by the State and can only be used to improve the quality of our schools, which will help maintain the desirability of our community. Please join us along with local elected officials, firefighters, business owners, senior citizens, police officers, teachers, and parents in voting YES on Measure US!

Community Member

Fire Captain LACoFD

CBOC Bond Oversight Member


Santa Clarita Resident

Arguments AGAINST

WARNING - the vague and fanciful language presented in the ballot question is not binding on district trustees. The words are focus group tested to provoke an emotional "Yes" vote.

The bond resolution does not have a specific project list as required by the California Constitution Article XIIIA. It is a "wish list" of items that may comprise future projects. There are no cost estimates, no prioritization of projects. The board is even including items that are normal repair and maintenance. Completion is not guaranteed.

The California Constitution requires a "specific list of projects to be funded". Trustee President Denis DeFigueiredo admits the list is general to give the board flexibility. The measure does not qualify for voter consideration as a reduced super-majority 55% bond. Voters can hold the district accountable for constitutional compliance with a NO vote. 

The facilities in Sulphur Springs are reported to be in good condition on the School Accountability Report Card (SCAR), schools are architecturally and structurally sound.

The $78,000,000 authorization is based on the maximum amount of money the district can borrow. The tax rate statement estimates total debt service on Measure US to be $148,000,000. This new tax will be collected until the year 2056.

 In 2012, voters in authorized Measure CK funding in the amount of $72,000,000. The trustees are asking you to layer debt on top of debt. 

The funds approved in 2012 have not been fully expended. Remember, $45,000,000 in borrowing remains to be paid.

Bond Measure US will double the tax amount you pay!

District auditors reported (2018 Performance Audit) that Sulphur Springs did not maintain an active Oversight Committee for Measure CK (2012).

Seniors, veterans, and low income residents are not exempt. 

Demand honesty and full transparency. Vote No!                

Principal Officer
The Center for Truth in School Bond Measures

Replies to Arguments FOR

Do not be hoodwinked by the argument in favor. What didn't they tell you?

Sulphur Springs is presenting voters with a deceptive and non-compliant ballot question. Stop the cheating.

Sulphur Springs has not fully allocated the $72,000,000 authorized in Measure CK, approved 2012! This is NOT the time to authorize more debt!

The project list for Measure US is not specific, and includes many items identified in Measure CK.

Sulphur Springs failed to maintain an active Oversight Committee for Measure CK.

There is no guarantee of State matching funds.

New taxes imposed on property owners are layered over existing debt commitments for Sulphur Springs, William S Hart, and College of the Canyons. Enough already!

Generational debt demands careful consideration and prudence.

High taxes and fees are forcing citizens to move out of California.

Federal tax reform limits the amount of local taxes you may deduct.

Oversight Committee members are not independent, and lack training to fulfill their responsibility. The accountants and committee have no say whether expenditures are wise and prudent.

The ballot question fails to identify a maximum interest rate for bond issuance.

The district has a history of issuing Capital Appreciation Bonds, pushing debt repayment into future years.

District staff may be compensated from bond funds per the CA Attorney General, Opinion 04-110. Stop ballot deception!

Demand financial accountability and stewardship. The outcome of this election is final and determinative. Stay in control, protect your property!

Vote NO on Measure US

Principal Officer
The Center for Truth in School Bond Measures

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Measure US is supported by local teachers, business owners, police and firefighters, and elected leaders because it makes critical safety improvements and upgrades to our community's aging schools.

The single opponent to Measure US who wrote the argument against it doesn't live in our School District, and his statement contains multiple inaccuracies.

The fact is most of our schools were built over 50 years ago and are in need of improvement. Measure US will improve our classrooms and upgrade safety and security at all Sulphur Springs schools. Measure US ensures we have modern schools where students can develop the science, technology, reading, and math skills to prepare for high school, college, and careers.

Planning for these school facilities improvements began in 2017, and a school improvement implementation plan was approved by the District and is available on its website. The projects in Measure US are consistent with the plan and State law.

The District has successfully received State grants to fund previous improvements and will continue aggressively pursuing additional funding from the State and other sources. However, these funds are insufficient to meet the District's identified needs, and all funds from the prior bond have been committed. That's why we need Measure US.

Measure US includes multiple taxpayer protections:

- A Citizens' Oversight Committee to monitor all expenditures

- Annual independent financial and performance audits

- No money for administrator salaries

Sulphur Springs' excellent schools help make our community great and enhance home values. Vote YES on Measure US.


CBOC Bond Oversight President

Fire Capt. LACoFD


Senior Community Member

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