$3.2B San Diego Unified School District bond would pay to protect against school shootings

Measure U will be on the November ballot
Posted at 5:58 AM, Aug 29, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As San Diego Unified School District students head back to school, district leaders are asking their parents to pay for more ways to keep the kids safe.

The SDUSD Board of Trustees voted in July to put "Measure U" on the upcoming November ballot. It's a bond that will raise $3.2 billion for facilities upgrades and more.

"This bond is part of an ongoing effort to modernize our facilities," says SDUSD Trustee Richard Barerra. "So that our students can go to state-of-the-art learning environments."

But this bond goes beyond the types of facility upgrades found in other bonds. It specifically calls for improvements to "protect against school shootings."

Barerra says about $200 million would be set aside for safety infrastructure. The bond says that money will pay for new communication systems, cameras, door locks, controlled entry points, improved lighting and fencing, and upgraded school security systems.

"This is one issue we wish we didn't have to deal with," Barerra says. "But we also can't just close our eyes and not be aware of what's been happening around the country."

This will be the fifth bond that SDUSD has asked voters to pass since 1998. The other four brought in nearly $10 billion.

But Barerra says this one won't raise anyone's taxes. Instead, it will replace previous bonds as they expire. Homeowners in San Diego will keep paying $60 for every $100,000 of the assessed value of their homes. The taxes from Measure U would account for $33 of that, and run through the 2016-62 fiscal year.

An annual audit, as well as an independent citizens advisory committee, would make sure the money is spent properly.

Measure U needs a 55% vote to pass. Barerra says news of recent shootings shows the urgency of making these upgrades.

"Unfortunately, we're still in a society where somebody with a dangerous weapon might have access to a school campus," he says. "By building these security upgrades, we're doing everything that we can to minimize that threat."