This November voters within Long Beach Unified School District boundaries will have the opportunity to decide the future of local educational facilities.
The Board of Education has placed Measure E, a $1.5 billion school repair and safety bond initiative, on the Nov. 8 ballot in response to strong public support for repairing aging schools.
To be enacted, Measure E would require approval by at least 55 percent of voters who cast ballots on that day.
Two telephone surveys conducted by the school district showed that more than seven out of ten local voters believe that LBUSD has a significant need for additional funding to modernize and improve campuses.
More than 2,000 community members who responded to an online survey also affirmed their support for repairs and upgrades to schools.
Nearly all 84 campuses are in need of repair or renovation because most were built 60 or more years ago. Infrastructure is reaching its end of life and many buildings no longer meet modern handicap accessibility and safety standards.
Priority projects include health and safety-related repairs such as electrical upgrades to add energy-efficient air conditioning systems, and the addition of handicap accessible restrooms, ramps and elevators.
Buildings must also be retrofitted to meet new, stricter earthquake standards set by state regulators.
"This November, local voters will have an opportunity to decide whether LBUSD schools will receive needed improvements to meet 21st Century safety and environmental standards," Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said.
In 2008, 71 percent of voters approved Measure K, a bond measure that made available $1.2 billion for building new small high schools, removing outdated portables and renovating or rebuilding old campuses.
Hundreds of projects, including the building of two new high schools, renovations to outdated auditoriums and gymnasiums, and installation of wi-fi on all campuses, have been completed or are in progress.
To date, nearly all of the funds available through Measure K have been spent or earmarked for critical projects.
A 2016 update to the school district’s Facility Master Plan showed that there is an additional $3.5 billion in repairs and upgrades that are needed.
The newly updated Facility Master Plan includes a school-by-school project list and is available at www.lbschools.net, as is the full text of the Measure E ballot statement that will appear on the November 8 ballot.