$650M bond for California district's 41 schools sparks debate

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A debate has emerged over the $650 million school bond measure on the June ballot, with district leaders saying it's necessary to modernize aging campuses and opponents calling it a financially risky move that won't address half of the district's many needs.

The informal group, led by Fremont resident Kathryn McDonald, says it wants to help the district fix its estimated $1.6 billion in campus needs but finds Measure E an inadequate solution. McDonald instead wants housing developers, not taxpayers, to pay more for the increased traffic and student enrollment their developments bring.

Developers are paying $5.27 per square foot this year, garnering about $2 million, said James Morris, Fremont's superintendent of schools. The developers' fund, primarily spent on portable classrooms, is a fraction of the district's $278 million budget for 2014-15.

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