In response to strong public support for repairing aging schools, the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education on June 23, 2016 approved the placement of a $1.5 billion school repair and safety bond measure on the Nov. 8 ballot. The ballot measure, called Measure E, required approval by at least 55 percent of voters who cast ballots on election day. Voters approved the measure with a 74.86 percent yes vote.
Funds from Measure E address these key areas:
- REPAIRS: Many campuses here were built 60 to 70 years ago. These outdated buildings need important health and safety repairs. Additional work is needed to meet handicap accessibility and earthquake standards, replace old restrooms and leaky roofs, upgrade fire alarms and security systems, and improve plumbing and electrical wiring to conserve water and energy.
- TECHNOLOGY: Today's competitive global economy requires students have a good education in technology. It is imperative for students' future success to upgrade science and computer labs, libraries, and classroom technology, so students can learn the vital skills needed to go to college and compete for good jobs.
- AIR CONDITIONING: Many LBUSD schools lack air conditioning, making classrooms extremely uncomfortable on hot days. When temperatures rise, schools are forced to send students home due to overheated classrooms. Even classrooms with existing air conditioning systems are at or near their end of life with outdated parts. By installing modern energy efficient air conditioning systems, LBUSD will help improve learning by making sure classrooms are always comfortable and ventilated.
- SAFETY: Improving indoor and outdoor recreational areas, including fields, gyms and swimming pools, will allow after-school programs to be expanded. Increasing students' access to safe, supervised activities, which provide mentoring and counseling, will keep them off the streets and increase graduation rates.
The bond measure is subject to strict accountability requirements, including a public expenditure plan, independent annual audits and review of all spending by an Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee. No money can be spent on administrator salaries, and all funds must be used locally to improve neighborhood schools.